June 17, 2024

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One of many largest matters of debate at COP26, the worldwide local weather convention held in November 2021, was how an absence of dependable and constant measurement hampers progress on the trail to Internet Zero. I’ve been reflecting on this subject and, on this Earth Day, I want to present an replace on how we’re measuring power and water use at our datacenters to enhance sustainability throughout the Azure Cloud.

At this time, we’re sharing an necessary replace on how Microsoft, and our datacenters, are serving to to unravel our a part of this measurement problem.

Whereas the environmental targets are comparable, every trade has distinctive challenges in measuring its carbon emissions to construct its sustainability technique. It’s one of many key causes we, along with ClimateWorks Basis and 20 different main organizations, launched the Carbon Name. It’s additionally why we developed Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability, an Azure-based platform that permits organizations to mix disparate information sources into one place and assist present insights into find out how to enhance their sustainability approaches.

You’ve instructed us simply how necessary measuring power and water consumption from our datacenters is in taking sustainability under consideration for business choices. Beneath you will notice, for the primary time, our datacenter PUE (Energy Utilization Effectiveness) and WUE (Water Utilization Effectiveness) metrics. To handle these capabilities, we set design targets—our theoretical estimates of probably the most environment friendly we will function our datacenters—and guarantee now we have measurements of our precise efficiencies. These targets can range between datacenter generations and utilization; as an illustration, newer datacenter generations in addition to datacenters working at peak utilization are extra environment friendly. We monitor these statistics at a world stage and by our working geographies—Americas, Asia Pacific, and EMEA (Europe, Center East, Africa).

Understanding Energy Utilization Effectiveness (PUE)

PUE is an trade metric that measures how effectively a datacenter consumes and makes use of the power that powers the datacenter, together with the operation of techniques like powering, cooling, and working the servers, information networks and lights. The nearer the PUE quantity is to “1,” the extra environment friendly using power.

Whereas native setting and infrastructure can have an effect on how PUE is calculated, there are additionally slight variations throughout suppliers. Right here’s the best method to consider PUE.

Microsoft datacenter power usage effectiveness (P U E) equals (total energy needed for facility) divided by (total energy used for computing)

We design and construct our datacenters towards the optimum PUE determine. We will additionally predict, with a excessive diploma of accuracy, that optimum PUE determine. As we continually innovate, we issue these adjustments into our datacenter designs to get as near “1” as possible. Our latest era of datacenters have a design PUE of 1.12 and, with every new era, we try to turn into much more environment friendly. Within the chart beneath, the blue bars present our estimated, or designed, PUE figures, whereas the gray bars point out our precise PUE figures. As you may see, in Asia Pacific our precise PUE is increased; that’s due partially to increased ambient temperatures within the area which necessitates extra cooling.

In virtually each area, our precise working PUE is extra environment friendly than our designs.

Comparison of P U E design goal with actual P U E across Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe/Middle East/Africa, and Global

Understanding Water Utilization Effectiveness (WUE)

Water Utilization Effectiveness (WUE) is one other key metric referring to the environment friendly and sustainable operations of our datacenters and is an important side as we work in the direction of our dedication to be water constructive by 2030.

WUE is calculated by dividing the variety of liters of water used for humidification and cooling by the whole annual quantity of energy (measured in kWh) wanted to function our datacenter IT tools.

Microsoft datacenter water usage effectiveness (W U E) equals (annual liters of water used for humidification and cooling) divided by (total annual kilowatt hour used to power IT equipment)

Like PUE, there are variables that may influence WUE—lots of which relate to the situation of the datacenter. Humid areas typically have extra atmospheric water, whereas arid areas have little or no. Datacenters in colder elements of the world, like Sweden and Finland function in naturally cooler environments so require much less water for cooling. Our datacenter designs reduce water use. The chart beneath exhibits (in blue) our estimated or designed WUE determine, and in gray, our precise WUE determine. Once more, Asia Pacific is increased on account of increased ambient temperatures and consequently the necessity in some locations for water-cooled chillers.

Comparison of W U E design goal with actual W U E in (Liters over kilowatt hours) across Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe/Middle East/Africa, and Global

We proceed to combine our requirements in water discount applied sciences akin to these in our Phoenix, Arizona datacenter the place we use direct exterior air many of the 12 months to chill servers. We in any other case cool by direct evaporation that requires a fraction of the water in comparison with different, standard water-based cooling techniques akin to water-cooled chillers.

Moreover, by powering our datacenter with energy from the Solar Streams 2 Photo voltaic Undertaking owned by native associate, Longroad Power, we’re displacing the water wanted within the conventional electrical energy era course of and anticipate to avoid wasting 356 million liters of water yearly.

Scope three and provide chain

As we shared in March with our annual sustainability report, we made good progress on various our targets. Throughout the corporate’s operations, we noticed an total discount in our Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions of about 17 p.c 12 months over 12 months, by our buying of renewable power. On the similar time, we additionally noticed an increase in our Scope three emissions, which elevated about 23 p.c 12 months over 12 months.

We all know that Scope three emissions (representing the whole emissions throughout an organization’s complete worth chain) are probably the most tough to regulate and cut back, as a result of we will typically solely affect change. We all know it is a long-term effort and this 12 months now we have elevated our give attention to operational self-discipline that’s rooted in dependable information. We’ve additionally been working with companions throughout the trade, together with Infrastructure Masons on carbon transparency inside the datacenter provide chain, and could have thrilling information to share on the Datacloud International Congress on April 25 to 27.

Study extra

We all know simply how essential information transparency and consistency are in serving to our clients make the proper decisions for his or her enterprise, and hope that at this time’s announcement on our PUE and WUE information might be an necessary step ahead in informing choices about their sustainability methods.

To study extra about our datacenter operations and commitments in motion at this time, you may go to:

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