Close up of server, cords - Data Center Sustainability

Data Center Sustainability: 5 Overlooked Strategies for Improvement

Christen Martines | January 3, 2024

Christopher Tozzi,, December 18, 2023

When it comes to improving data center sustainability, many strategies are pretty obvious. You invest in renewable energy sourcing. You make your systems more energy-efficient. You possibly purchase some carbon offsets (which don’t actually make your facility more sustainable, but at least they offset emissions elsewhere).

But this is not an exhaustive list of data center sustainability practices. If you really want to optimize for energy efficiency and minimize the carbon footprint of your data center, you should dig further and embrace less obvious sustainability strategies.

To that end, here’s a look at more creative approaches. Although the practices discussed below are not viable for every data center, they offer perspective on some of the more advanced, and less obvious, strategies that data center operators can embrace to go beyond the basics on the sustainability front.

1. Using low-carbon concrete for construction

Microsoft made headlines this year when it announced efforts to source low-carbon concrete for constructing a new data center. Standard concrete turns out to be a major source of carbon emissions, but by working with suppliers who are experimenting with novel concrete formulations, the company hopes to pour a more sustainable footprint – literally – for its new facility.

Currently, low-carbon concrete in the data center industry remains experimental; even Microsoft isn’t yet sure exactly which type of concrete will turn out to yield the best results on the sustainability front. Still, this is an example of a creative approach to sustainability – and also one that is not particularly challenging to implement if you’re constructing a new data center facility.

2. Update your data center roof

Like the material used for a data center foundation, your data center’s roof can also play a larger role than you might expect in sustainability.

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