Singapore sets up standards to optimise Data Centre energy usage

Singapore sets up standards to optimise Data Centre energy usage

In tropical climate countries.

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Singapore has set up one of the world’s first standards for optimising energy efficiency for data centres (DCs) in tropical climate conditions according to Singapore's Senior Minister of State, Communications and Information, Dr Janil Puthucheary.

He was speaking at the Asia Tech x Singapore 2023  event on Thursday.

Singapore's Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) said the standard comes from a collaboration between technical experts from industry, academia and government agencies to enable the operation of DCs at optimised energy levels.

With a typical data centre, cooling systems account for up to 40 percent of total energy consumption, and many operators choose to operate their equipment at temperatures of 22°C and below, IMDA noted.

As cooling of DCs in a warmer tropical climate environment presents additional challenges, there is a lack of established industry guidelines on how to safely raise DCs’ operating temperatures.

The new standard aims to help DCs develop a roadmap to support the gradual increase in operating temperatures to 26°C and above.

"This could lead to DCs potentially benefiting from a 2-5 percent energy savings from lower cooling costs, with every 1°C increase in the DC operating temperature," IMDA said.

Pilot trials

IMDA has worked with several DC operators in Singapore to trial this new standard to reduce energy use.

For instance, Digital Realty has referenced this standard and successfully increased their DC operating temperatures by 2°C at two of their 4.5 MW data halls, which translates to a reduction of approximately 2-3 percent total energy usage in these data halls over the trial period to-date.

The Government Technology Agency (GovTech) has also begun trialling higher temperatures in a Government DC as part of their sustainability initiative.

IMDA has currently opened invites for DC operators to use this standard to help determine the best operating temperature for optimising energy efficiency in tropical climates to check operational reliability.

Partnerships to Go Green

To encourage greater adoption of the standard, IMDA is working with Building & Construction Authority (BCA) to update the Green Mark scheme for DCs that sets the industry's energy efficiency and sustainability benchmarks.

The agency is also building international private-public partnerships with firms like IBM, Accenture and Microsoft to collaborate on the Green Software Foundation (GSF) to exchange best practices and promote the implementation of green software.

As part of the Ministry of Communications and Information's (MCI's) recently launched Digital Connectivity Blueprint (DCB), Singapore plans to pioneer a roadmap for the growth of new Green Data Centres (DCs).

The Ministry said that the would chart long-term growth pathways to new Green DCs, inviting private investments of S$10-S$12 billion for new capacity.

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