Environmental, social and governance (ESG) themes became more prevalent in 2021 and will continue to do so in 2022. In light of the pandemic, climate concerns and digital transformation, many enterprises are setting ambitious sustainability goals. According to one industry analyst, “Corporate sustainability isn’t just here to stay – it is becoming a business imperative for organizations around the world.”¹
Year-end is a good time to reflect on what we accomplished and what we learned (or confirmed) and to make a few predictions for the new year.
Let’s look at three areas that CoreSite focused on during 2021.
As a multitenant colocation provider, we deliver cooling based on the varying power densities customers need. Whether our customers have low or high compute environments (or somewhere in between), the new plant allows us to design specific systems to meet each of our customer’s unique requirements. For example, the NYU spotlight highlights some fascinating aspects of water cooling.
Additionally, upgraded mechanical systems improve our ability to tune the data center environment, similar to tuning a car engine to make it run more efficiently. We looked at air flow, for example, and how it moves around a facility and how free cooling by using the outside air can help more efficiently cool facilities. In Boston and other campuses, we are able to use outside air for free cooling up to 60% of the time.
What is one of the outcomes of the efficiency improvement work? Confirmation that we can accommodate accelerating customer deployment schedules and tech refreshes, particularly related to increasingly higher densities in smaller footprints.
As regulations evolve to address climate concerns, they require cleaner energy. There are some federal mandates, but states are driving local regulatory changes aimed at achieving their carbon-neutral or renewable energy goals. Additionally, utilities and suppliers have set cleaner energy goals and are progressing on their paths to achieve them. For example, our Virginia supplier set a goal to achieve 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045. By choosing to source our load in the open market and working with third party suppliers, we confirmed that CoreSite can help achieve this carbon-free goal earlier, at a reduced or neutral total cost of ownership to CoreSite and our customers.
Given the variability across customers, a lot of discussion focuses on setting realistic, achievable goals that balance environmental impact, cost and brand consideration. A lesson confirmed; that an informational, educational, and partnership approach is an effective approach.
Experience, along with research, helps us figure out where to invest more time and resources in the future. We’re keeping an eye on three trends as we head into 2022:
Trading-in “less efficient” (on-premises) for “more efficient” (purpose-built) colocation is something enterprises can capitalize on immediately. No waiting for or investing in next-generation technology that’s already available through a colocation provider. IT application environments associated with enterprise and cloud are only going to accelerate, so why not capture energy improvements sooner rather than later? Some CoreSite customers have reduced their energy costs by 50%, and we expect significant savings to continue.
Forbes describes three guiding principles for enterprises on their journey toward sustainability: bold leadership, sustainable execution and aligned stakeholders.³ These principles echo CoreSite’s approach to sustainability and help shape the three pillars of our practices:
Of all the things we confirmed in 2021, perhaps the most important takeaway is that sustainability is a long-term mindset, a frame of reference that drives improvement and innovation, which is achieved through consistent, collaborative, cross-functional, investment and effort over time – a sound theme to carry into 2022. For more information, read our Sustainability Report.
1. IDC Abstract, IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Sustainability 2022 Predictions, October 2021.
2. IDG, State of the Data Center Report, 2021.
3. Forbes, The Three Principles of Sustainable Transformation, November 9, 2021.
4. CoreSite, Sustainability Report, 2020.
SVP, Development and Product Engineering
Brian joined CoreSite in 2011 and brings 15 plus years of product management, strategy and marketing experience in the communications industry.Read more from this author