Green Data Centers
Our Renewable Energy Principles
We have a long-term goal of using 100% clean and renewable energy for our global platform. To support this goal, we have identified four principles to help us guide our renewable energy purchasing decisions:
- We prefer to utilize renewable and low carbon energy
- We prefer local sources of energy
- We prefer new or recently built energy sources
- We seek favorable renewable energy policies when locating new data centers
At Equinix, we strive to be good stewards of the environment and of the resources we consume. This drives us to embrace actions that minimize our environmental footprint -- advancing our business and helping our customers operate more sustainably. We’ve made a long-term pledge to power Platform Equinix® with 100% clean and renewable energy which will result in carbon-neutral data center and interconnection services for our customers and partners around the globe. We understand the value of collaboration and transparency, and we seek to elevate our status among our competitors and the broader industry, as a leader in sustainable design, efficiency and innovation.
Renewable energy is a global strategy. In 2017, Equinix purchased enough renewable energy to cover 77% of its worldwide energy consumption. We met our RE100 goal of 50% by the end of 2017 one year early at the end of 2016. This includes our recent acquisitions of sites from Verizon Data Centers, Itconic, IO, and Zenium. As of the end of 2017, Equinix’s regional achieve the following renewable energy percentage: Americas (72.7%), Asia-Pacific (64.6%), EMEA (89.3%).
Our 2017 regional renewable energy purchasing highlights include:
- Americas: 225 MW utility-scale wind via Virtual Power Purchase Agreement in operation 365 days producing 945,000 MWh. 530,000 MWh additional Green-e RECs purchased. This results in 100% U.S. coverage for all legacy U.S. sites and 75% overall U.S. only coverage when including Verizon data centers
- Asia-Pacific: Added Shanghai (100%) and Singapore (59% or 100% of SG2), continued coverage for Hong Kong (100%) and most of Japan (71%)
- EMEA: Achieved 89.3% coverage overall with 100% legacy Equinix coverage. Continued progress adding renewable energy to Telecity contracts
Our Climate Change Impact: Our Greenhouse Gas Footprint
Transparency around the impact of our IBX operations is a key aspect of our Green by Design strategy. In 2017, Equinix’s total carbon footprint was 1,756,000 mtCO2e without accounting of our local renewable energy purchases (aka this our location-based carbon footprint). Our total carbon footprint with our renewable energy and local supplier emission-factors considered was 467,000 mtCO2e.
Equinix’s emissions footprint is comprised of 99% electricity consumption and 1% other fuels including diesel for onsite backup generation and natural gas. Offices and non-IBX operations account for less than 1% of our carbon footprint. We use the World Resources Institute’s Greenhouse Gas Protocol and our Scope 1, Scope 2 and most of our Scope 3 emissions are assured to ISO 14064-3:2006 standards.
Other ways Equinix is addressing its resource consumption:
- 37 MW of fuel cells under contract in the U.S. Fuel cells, while not carbon neutral, offer a lower carbon footprint and provide always-on highly reliable power at the location where it is consumed. This results in price stability and reduces reliance on the local grid
- Set energy reduction targets at the local level in the form of Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) improvements of 2-3% per annum
- Adopted more aggressive regional design PUE targets 8-10% less on average
- Invested in onsite deployments of solar in Singapore, Amsterdam and Ashburn
Using Power Purchase Agreements to Achieve Our Goals
Equinix was an early adopter of the Virtual Power Purchase Agreement (VPPA); a contracting mechanism to bring new renewable energy online even in the face of having a diverse geographic load. In 2015, Equinix signed two long-term agreements: 100 MW of wind in Texas and 125 MW of wind in Oklahoma. Our Wake, Texas wind farm came online November 1, 2016 and our Rush Springs, Oklahoma wind farm came online December 1, 2016.
We believe it is imperative for companies to always challenge themselves to actively seek solutions that are more sustainable than what they’re doing today. We ask ourselves, “How can we meet the changing needs of our customers and stakeholders, while also enriching the world and doing the right thing?” Our VPPAs are an innovative way we are making a difference on the U.S. electricity grids and promoting a low carbon future for all.
Our Energy Mix
In 2017 with the continuous expansion of our businesses, Equinix consumed 4,518 GWh of electricity or the equivalent of 400,000 average U.S. residential homes. Our regional energy consumption breakdown in 2017 was:
- Americas: 2,060 GWh (45% of Total)
- Asia Pacific: 800 GWh (18% of Total)
- Europe: 1,660 GWh (37% of Total)
Our effective 2017 electricity resource mix directly supplied by our utilities and suppliers (not including additional renewable energy purchases through VPPAs, certificates, and guarantees of origin) was:
- Coal 17.6%
- Gas 29.2%
- Nuclear 28.0%
- Utility-Owned Renewables 16.0%
- Other 9.2%
- Coal 17.9%
- Gas 62.4%
- Nuclear 6.5%
- Utility-Owned Renewables 9.9%
- Coal 16.0%
- Gas 22.0%
- Nuclear 14.2%
- Utility-Owned Renewables 42.8%
- Other 5.0%
- Coal 17.1%
- Gas 32.4%
- Nuclear 19.1%
- Utility-Owned Renewables 24.8%
- Other 6.6%
*These percentages are calculated based on specific supplier contracts, utility or supplier specific generation mix where available; as well as reported regional electricity grid mixes. Equinix will continue to progress aligning with the amended Scope 2 Guidance of The Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard. Note, the 2017 values now include recent M&A activity such as Telecity, Bit-isle, Verizon Data Centers, Itconic, IO and Zenium.
Since 2011, we have invested $100 million in energy efficiency upgrades, retrofits, and improvements; with millions of dollars more in execution. Our investments have helped us avoid 23,000 kilowatts of demand annually or 900,000 MWh since 2011 roughly equivalent to avoiding 330,000 metric tons in CO2 emissions around the world. We continue to expand our Energy Efficiency Program (EEP) and maximize opportunities for continuous improvement within our data centers.
Learn more about Equinix PUE Design
Green technologies deployed globally
Adaptive control systems reduce power consumption and increase cooling capacity through active airflow management using intelligent, distributed sensors and innovative control policies.
ASHRAE thermal guidelines are used as reference in our newest facilities to optimize interior temperatures. This reduces power consumption for cooling, while maintaining a safe operating temperature for computing equipment.
Cold/hot aisle containment uses physical barriers to reduce the mixing of cold air in data center supply aisles with the hot air in their exhaust aisles. This results in lower energy consumption and more efficient cooling.
Energy-efficient lighting systems in our data centers use motion-activated controls to reduce energy consumption and ambient heat from operating lights.
Variable frequency drives are deployed in chillers, pumps and fans in our HVAC systems to save energy by automatically reducing a motor's speed and power draw to match lower system loads.
IBX Green Innovations
When Equinix designs and builds new International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data centers, we reduce energy use and shrink our carbon footprint by taking advantage of unique site conditions. See our list of green certified data centers.”