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Green Grid Launches Data Center LCA Framework

Data center efficiency nonprofit The Green Grid has released a framework aimed at standardizing life cycle assessments of data centers.

With both public and private sector organizations under pressure from central government and industry regulators to reduce carbon footprints, environmental impact assessments are becoming increasingly commonplace. However, the diverse range of often-incompatible approaches to assessments means that many organizations struggle to have a clear idea of exactly what their assessments should entail, according to the white paper Data Centre Life Cycle Assessment Guidelines.

The white paper aims to show organizations what attributes of their data centers should be included in an LCA. For example, the impact of servers, network equipment and cables always needs to be included in an LCA, but such things as keyboards, monitors and printers only need to be included if these items contribute a “significant” environmental impact, the white paper says.

Companies must clearly define and declare where the life cycle assessment begins and ends in relation to the data center’s broader environmental impacts, the white paper says. For instance, the Green Grid proposes that a typical data center LCA should not include the energy used to build the factories that manufacture the servers, construction equipment used to build the data center, and so on.

Green Grid EMEA Technical Work Group member Christophe Garnier said the framework will continue to evolve and will incorporate real-world case studies. He described the white paper as a first step forwards establishing a common set of product category rules.

In July, the Green Grid and nonprofit the Climate Savers Computing Initiative combined their green IT programs. Under the plan CSCI said it would move its programs and membership under the Green Grid banner.

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