Driven by factors such as regulatory requirements, environmental responsibility, and the demand for faster access to growing data, the data center industry has made significant strides in becoming more innovative and conscientious about deploying more sustainable data center design and construction that are energy efficient and use renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and water. As a result, data centers are partnering with green suppliers in their effort to reduce their carbon footprint. Enterprise Networking Planet describes the sustainability challenges with data centers in relation to the exponential rise in internet traffic in the past decade. The demand for data continues to grow and increasing regulatory pressure in the U.S. and other countries is driving efficiencies, while consumers and investors are concerned about the social and environmental impacts of doing business as usual. Investors and consumers are interested in the company’s values, therefore, are paying more attention to ethical and sustainability business practices. As a result, data centers are addressing the impacts of energy consumption and carbon emissions on the social and natural environment. Data centers to that extent compete with other users for access to local resources.
Nature.com reports that while the energy consumption of data center facilities regularly receives mainstream and academic coverage, analysis of their water consumption is scarce. There is an issue of transparency with less than a third of data center operators measuring water consumption.
The sustainable development approach
A strategic and holistic approach to sustainable development for data centers is needed to address these challenges.
Sustainable solutions are now making renewable energy more logistically and financially feasible. Data centers in the U.S. are taking action to address: 1) scalability; 2) localized energy matching; 3) procurement of DCIM and BMS systems for greater energy efficiency, 4) building to green construction standards; and 5) partnering with green suppliers.
Nautilus Data Technologies faced the sustainability challenge with their data center in California and in doing so, they transitioned to a new design and became pioneers in sustainable, water-cooled data centers. Nautilus created a cooling solution using a natural water resource, without producing waste or harming the environment. They also addressed efficiency by partnering with VinZero U.S. CAD and accelerated their design.
The company's platform for uniformity includes Autodesk Revit and BIM Collaborate Pro, supporting increased collaboration with its design and build partners, and helps to leverage sustainability features within the solutions.
“The success and smooth transition of our sustainable data center to Autodesk and BIM can be largely attributed to the skilled and dedicated team at VinZero U.S CAD. Their support, comprehensive training solutions, and timely assistance accelerated our conversion from Rhino to BIM – setting benchmarks in efficiency and teamwork.”
– Gabe Andrews, Senior Director of Data Center Operations, Nautilus Data Technologies
A sustainable outcome for society and the natural environment
The Nautilus Data Centre featured at the Port of Stockton in California by Businesswire.
‘’delivers all the benefits of emerging computing innovations without wasting water and energy and meets the most stringent Environment requirements in the world’’.
The Nautilus data center system contributes to Sustainable Development SDG 12 'Ensure Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns' and SDG 14 'Life Below Water'. There is no waste or consumption of water, and no refrigerants, chemical or pollution by the release of chemical compounds into the natural water system.
The location of the data center is already close to a natural body of water and therefore, the building of further infrastructure to access the water is unnecessary. Traditional data centers that are land based and located close to a natural body of water can also use the water-cooling solution instead of consuming refrigerants, leaving nature unharmed.
From concept to build
Nautilus is proud to have demonstrated that its technology can achieve the highest standards of environmental performance required by the U.S. government and the State of California. The Nautilus team worked collaboratively with federal, state, and local professionals responsible for environmental stewardship to secure all regulatory approvals, including:
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) (160-page analysis finding no significant adverse impact to the environment)
U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (endangered species protection)
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (endangered species protection)
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (wetlands protections)
California Department of Fish and Wildlife (state species protection)
California State Lands Commission (public trust and natural resource protection)
California Regional Water Quality Control Board (water quality protection)
California Air Quality Management District (air quality protection)
Sustainability benefits of the Nautilus data center
The Nautilus data center design boasts a positive impact on the well-being of society and the natural environment. They have the lowest environmental footprint, enabling the greatest social gain. They are both economically and environmentally friendly and therefore are attractive to investors and consumers. Other sustainability benefits include:
No consumption, refrigerants, chemicals, or pollution on the environment
70% more energy-efficient cooling compared to other traditional data centers
30% net smaller carbon footprint
Capacity to run 100KW per rack, and at a daily PUE of 1.15
Do no harm to land or sea life
Outlast traditional data centers and support the highest-performance computing
Recognized for their leadership
In recognition of their pioneering success, Nautilus and their partner, VinZero U.S. CAD received the Most Impactful Sustainability Win by Autodesk for 2023. This prestigious award recognizes VinZero U.S. CAD’s alignment with Autodesk’s mission to help customers imagine, design, and solve today for a better tomorrow.
For over 20 years, the brands under VinZero have been providing software solutions and professional services to Architectural, Engineering, Construction and Manufacturing industries helping them to understand the role of digitalization for the built environment. Businesses both large and small utilize VinZero’s dedicated industry experts to help navigate technologies as they emerge, driving efficiency and improving workflows. With a global focus on reducing emissions and increased focus directed towards industry, VinZero are now turning their attention to providing the linkages between using technology to digitize, and at the same time leveraging the valuable data insights it brings to build more sustainably. VinZero are passionate about helping their customers understand how the technologies they use today can help them to step towards net zero in the future, to build a better world.