UK Organisations Unlikely To Prioritise Energy Efficiency
Despite the consumption by data centres of around 1% of the world’s electricity production, the dramatic rise in energy prices over the last 12 months and ever-more-frequent warnings from environment agencies, UK organisations with large numbers of servers are still unlikely to prioritise energy efficiency in the data centre.
Among UK organisations with 11 or more servers:
- 35% say energy efficiency should be a factor in their server purchasing decisions. Fewer – 34% – say that energy efficiency is a factor in such decisions.
- 33% agree that server-related energy costs should be a line-item in their IT budgets, while 36% disagree.
- 56% say that server-related energy costs are a line item in the IT budget, and 32% say they are not.
- 47% say their IT department has an energy-efficiency and sustainability policy
- 24% say energy efficiency is of less importance when purchasing servers than it was 12 months ago.
Data – compiled in a new report from server manufacturer ASUS, Energy-efficiency in the data centre – indicates that organisations with fewer servers prioritise energy efficiency far more highly. For example, among organisations with 2-5 servers:
- 62% agree that energy efficiency should be a factor in their server purchasing decisions, compared with just 6% that disagree. More – 71% – say that energy efficiency is a factor in such decisions.
- 62% agree that server-related energy costs should be a line-item in their IT budgets, while 8% disagree.
- 89% say that server-related energy as a line item in the IT budget, and 9% say they are not.
- 81% say their IT department has an energy-efficiency and sustainability policy.
- 3% say energy efficiency is of less importance when purchasing servers than it was 12 months ago.
One explanation for the variation between the organisations with more/fewer servers may be expectations around energy prices: respondents from organisations with 10+ servers are twice as optimistic as respondents from organisations with 2-5 servers that energy prices will revert to long-term norms within two years.
The age of respondents heavily influences their prioritisation of ICT energy efficiency. For example:
- 57% of respondents aged 25-34 agreed that server-related energy costs should be a line item in their IT budgets, with 21% disagreeing. Among respondents aged 55 or over, just 19% agreed and almost half (46%) disagreed.
- 55% of respondents aged 25-34 say that energy efficiency should be a factor in server purchasing decisions. This fell to 51% for 35-44 year olds, 51% for 45-54 year olds, and 42% for respondents 55 or over
- 60% of respondents aged 25-34 and 61% of respondents aged 35-44 said Yes; just 15% of 25-34 year olds said No
- 31% of respondents aged 55 or over said Yes, while 46% of this cohort said No
Two vertical sectors that are generally regarded as being among the least affluent, Education and Arts/Culture, emerged as the least switched-on to the impact of energy efficiency on total cost of ownership.
While the UK is no longer part of the European Union, the issue of data centre energy consumption has attracted political attention in recent years. In February 2020, the European Commission declared: “…the ICT sector also needs to undergo [a] green transformation. The environmental footprint of the sector is significant, estimated at 5-9% of the world’s total electricity use and more than 2% of all emissions. Data centres and telecommunications will need to become more energy efficient, reuse waste energy, and use more renewable energy sources. They can and should become climate neutral by 2030.”