A Business' Guide to Finding a Green Colocation Provider

August 2, 2023

Businesses in all industries and of all sizes rely on colocation services to house IT assets off-site for convenience, savings and professional expertise. With a growing need for energy to run a colocation facility, these providers can have significant environmental impacts without effective sustainability practices. Understanding the need for and importance of sustainable colocation is crucial for businesses looking for green colocation services.

As you consider housing your IT assets in a colocation facility, look at the potential providers' sustainability efforts and how they could impact your business.

What Is Green Colocation?

Colocation data centers provide rentable space for businesses and organizations to store and run IT hardware and servers. Green colocation services refer to the sustainability of these data centers. Colocation facilities demand a lot of energy, as they provide all the connectivity, power and cooling systems throughout the building. At this level, IT operations can have significant environmental impacts. Green colocation services aim to reduce environmental impact and increase efficiency.

Colocation providers lead the way in promoting sustainability because of the power these facilities consume. Many businesses now seek colocation providers that prioritize sustainability throughout their operations.

Why Partner With a Sustainable Colocation Provider?

Here are a few reasons it's worth your time to find a sustainable colocation provider.

Environmental Benefits

Outsourcing to a sustainable colocation provider benefits the environment in numerous ways, including conserving natural resources and reducing carbon footprint. When colocation centers use renewable energy sources like wind or solar power, they limit the amount of nonrenewable resources consumed.

Financial Benefits

Outsourcing your IT housing to a colocation center is much more cost-effective for your business, as you can free up space and energy use within your building.

Sustainability is so critical that the federal government incentivizes businesses that improve their practices. For example, you could avoid emissions fees and taxes or earn Emission Reduction Credits.

Enhanced Brand Reputation

Consumers are becoming increasingly eco-conscious and more likely to spend money with green businesses. Working with a sustainable colocation provider gives you a competitive advantage in your market, attracting new customers and building your brand's reputation.

Ways Colocation Providers Can Be Sustainable

With such a substantial potential impact on the environment, there are many areas in which colocation providers can be more sustainable.

Energy-Efficient Data Center Design

Colocation centers maximize efficiency. For example, modular and scalable designs keep the space manageable, with optimal airflow. Strategic use of the space can lower operating costs, which makes these solutions more cost-effective for companies who rent it.

Using Renewable Energy Sources

Colocation providers can use renewable energy sources like solar and wind power to increase sustainability. Such a high need for electricity in colocation and data centers is wasteful. Natural resources are a much more responsible alternative because they're readily available to power the facility.

Sustainable Cooling Solutions

IT hardware and servers need effective cooling systems to prevent overheating. Constant cooling can lead to high energy consumption, especially in locations with a warmer climate. Free cooling refers to building colocation centers in colder climates to take advantage of their weather. Liquid cooling systems are another more energy-efficient option for colocation cooling.

Waste Heat Recovery and Reuse

Waste Heat Recovery and Reuse

Many colocation centers are finding ways to recover and reuse the waste heat from all the servers. Since heat requires energy, reusing waste heat cuts back on the need for new heat production. For example, instead of letting the heat escape, colocation centers can redirect it to local offices or apartments.

How to Identify a Sustainable Colocation Provider

Finding a sustainable colocation provider ensures you partner with one whose practices align with yours. Here are three considerations to remember.

Certifications and Accreditations

Colocation providers can earn various certifications and accreditations, indicating they maintain a specific sustainability level. For example, look for LEED, Energy Star, or BREEAM certifications. These recognize companies that uphold green practices, making them more desirable to work with.

Assessing Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Usage

Consider a facility's energy efficiency and what renewable energy sources they use, if any. For example, ask to see the power use effectiveness rating to assess how much of the facility's energy usage goes to the IT equipment. A colocation center's resource use indicates how efficient it is.

Reviewing Sustainability Policies and Initiatives

Colocation providers that follow environmentally friendly business practices should be willing to share their initiatives. Review their policies to determine whether they align with your business's long-term mission and goals.

Questions to Ask a Potential Provider

As you identify potential providers with green colocation services, ask them in-depth questions to learn as much as you can about their operations. For example:

  • What energy efficiency measures do you have in place?
  • Do you use renewable energy sources?
  • What are your waste reduction and recycling practices?
  • Do you have any sustainability certifications and achievements?
  • Can you share your plans for improving sustainability?
Reduce Your Environmental Impact With US Signal

Reduce Your Environmental Impact With US Signal

At US Signal, we're on a mission to power all of our Michigan-based offices and data centers with renewable energy by 2026. Reducing our carbon footprint helps you meet sustainability goals. Because we're partners with DTE Energy and Consumers Energy, you can save on rebates with them. Additionally, our colocation services include top-of-the-line equipment, connection, and security to keep your assets safe and compliant. Learn more about housing your IT assets with US Signal, or contact us to get started.

Additional Colocation Resources

To learn more about data management, check out these articles below from our blog or visit our resource center for whitepapers, e-books and more!