Networks Europe Jul-Aug 2019 - Page 13

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT By David Bond, Chairman, Centiel UK Ltd 13 When purchasing a UPS there’s much more to consider than simply specs, price and reputation. An UPS’s green credentials are just as important… In October last year, the UN issued a landmark report which stated Greenhouse gas emissions must be cut almost in half by 2030 to avert global environmental catastrophe, including the total loss of every coral reef, the disappearance of Arctic ice and the destruction of island communities; scientists stated that we need to keep temperature increases below 1.5C to avoid the worst effects of global warming. Unless we see a significant move away from fossil fuels to renewable energy and introduce new technology to reverse global warming by removing C02 from the atmosphere, scientists believe this figure will be exceeded within around 20 years. This report paints a bleak picture of our future if rapid action isn't taken on both an individual and a corporate level. Organisations have a responsibility to shareholders to look after them both financially and from an environmental perspective, so they need to start taking a long-term view and base purchasing decisions on reducing environmental impact. In this way, we can all play a part in contributing to change. So, from an environmental perspective what needs to be considered when purchasing a UPS? Operational efficiency If we consider a 100kW UPS operating 24 hours per day/365 days per year, every 1% of efficiency loss wastes 1kW every hour. At only 10p/kW hour this equates to £8,760 over a 10-year period and doesn’t include the energy wasted by additional air conditioning. Currently in the UK, more than 60% of this wasted energy comes from the burning of fossil fuels, which is why selecting the most efficient UPS is essential to minimise the carbon footprint. Beware, operational efficiencies are often stated by manufacturers as being greater than 99%, however, this 99% efficiency is related to offline operation or eco mode. No data centre ever operates on this mode as they would be operating on raw mains and only transferring (with a short break in power) to full UPS operation when there’s a problem. True online efficiency is the important percentage to compare UPS solutions as this indicates the real UPS operating efficiency. Rightsizing for now and the future From an efficiency perspective, the big challenge is that the IT power requirement in most organisations will change over time. Six years ago, a comms room server rack typically required 6kW, today it’s likely to require 30kW. So, how can the infrastructure be built to meet these dramatically changing demands? Put simply, a UPS needs to be easily scalable and must always operate at the optimum point on its efficiency curve. A system which is too small will be overloaded, compromising availability, while a system that’s too large will be inefficient, waste energy and be costly to run. It will also cost more than necessary to maintain due to its size. Scalability and flexibility are therefore essential