Outstanding Contribution to Sustainability and Efficiency Award
Iron Mountain Group has been servicing the data storage and security needs of customers for 70 years, ever since the Iron Mountain Atomic Storage Corporation set up its sales office in the Empire State Building in 1951. Perhaps it is because of this long-term perspective that the success of the business is defined in terms of sustainability. It is a $4 billion, 50-country business, with 225,000 customers, including 96% of the Fortune 1000.
Iron Mountain Data Centers (IMDC) has grown very quickly over the last few years to become a significant part of this enterprise. With 16 carrier-neutral facilities in Asia Pacific, EMEA and North America, we are one of the fastest-growing providers in a fast-growing sector, extending our campuses and expanding into new markets to support the needs of our customers. IMDC is a key sustainability driver for the Group, particularly on energy sourcing and efficiency.
Our facilities worldwide are now powered by 100% renewable energy, so our focus is on better forms of renewable generation, increased efficiency (PUE) and improving sustainability - for customers and partners, in other areas of the business and in the wider sector.
To IMDC sustainability has three measurable aspects:
1. Impact: the environmental impact of the business, from design and build to recycling and reuse
2. Scale: the ability of the business to support customers now and in the future, for instance through expansion, scalability, investment and ecosystem development
3. Mindset: how we innovate and interact as the landscape and challenge changes. This includes interaction and engagement with governments, NGOs the rest of the industry and, of course, customers
RECENT INITIATIVES & IMPACTS
Our initiatives to enhance sustainability in 2020 covered a number of bases in line with this strategy. Although there have been several, perhaps the two most significant in terms of reduction of overall environmental impact are improving energy efficiency and environmental impact on a worldwide basis and refining our energy sourcing process to map energy used more closed to energy generated:
Energy & Environmental Management – an Industry First
Centers of Excellence across the IMDC global footprint become sources for global improvement. Traditionally, lots of sustainability best practice has come from Europe – for instance, Iron Mountain Amsterdam was the first carbon-neutral facility in the Netherlands over ten years ago. ISO 50001 and ISO 14001 certification is part of this expertise.
In 2020 IMDC tapped into this capability to achieve the first simultaneous, enterprise-wide ISO 50001 Energy Management and ISO 14001 Environmental Management certifications in the industry. All of our Data Centers are now ISO 50001 Energy Management System certified, ensuring continuous improvement of energy efficiency practices and reduction of PUE around the world. In addition, our existing ISO 14001 Environmental Management System certification, originally specific to our Amsterdam Data Center, went through a scope expansion to include all sites in the enterprise. We are the only global data center provider to offer these accreditations on a worldwide basis.
Load-Matching: 100% carbon free, 100% of the time
IMDC uses 100% renewable energy for all operations. Total power consumption for all sites in 2020 was 625,313,334 kWh. To add some perspective to that, assuming an average global domestic power usage of 4,000kWh per household that is enough green electricity to power 156,328 homes.
In 2020, with the help of RPD and Direct Energy in North America, we moved beyond the conventional approach of matching renewable power on an annual basis, to matching renewable power generation with its hourly energy use.
We realize that the generally accepted method of measuring annual total KWhrs can result in negative side effects for the system due to solar and wind supply variability. As a result, we added load specifications - a time and place condition - to our 100% renewable energy commitments — aspiring to be 100% carbon free, 100% of the time.
This shift changes the way we contract for energy deals, and we will work with other users to develop the metrics and reporting tools we’ll need to achieve this goal. As with our other sustainability innovations, we feel this is a highly replicable approach that will become a readily available retail product for other large-scale power users, so there should be a knock-on effect.
In addition to the initiatives already mentioned, the following give a good indication of our progress in 2020:
Sharing the Credits - GPP Takes Off
2020 was remarkable for the successful uptake of our innovative Green Power Pass (GPP) solution, not just by IMDC customers, but by other colocation operators. The first offering of its kind in the data center industry, GPP was launched just under two years ago. It is a fully transparent solution for companies seeking to report greenhouse gas or CO2 reductions associated with the green power they consume with IMDC
A significant proportion of IMDC customers now use GPP to help reach their carbon reduction goals. So far, the solution has been applied by customers using over 33 MW of power.
The GPP model is also spreading. One competitor has committed to it and others are receiving advice from the IMDC team. More customer access means more green power demand which will lead to a greener grid for everyone.
Other Recent Initiatives
Other recent initiatives in brief:
- new 7.2 MW-rated solar installation at Iron Mountain's data center in Edison, New Jersey generated more than 9 Million KW/hrs in 2020.
- new goal agreed with US DOE to improve data center PUE by 30% over a five-year period across three data centers—or nearly 600,000 square feet of built space
- Net-zero waste strategy: improved reporting of materials use, water consumption, and waste and recycling implemented
- Joined Lower Energy Acceleration Program (LEAP) coalition to investigate the impact of eco-mode on servers
- AI software deployed to assess building control systems (air management in particular) and identify opportunities for energy savings in Northern Virginia and Kansas City facilities.