Scaling Up Sustainability with Green Globes for Data Centers

Brooke Hergott (Vantage Data Centers), Nancy Novak (Compass Datacenters), and Phill Lawson-Shanks (Aligned Data Centers) accept plaques for their 2024 certified buildings at GBI’s Advancing Sustainable Data Centers Seminar

Data centers are the heart of our digital lives – sending and receiving data. From warehouse functionality to high-tech havens, data centers have undergone advancements in both aesthetics and functionality. They’re technological, structural, mechanical, and electronic marvels – both inside and out. Their 24x7x365 operations have a significant environmental impact if not designed, constructed, and operated with sustainability in mind.

In 2022, the International Energy Agency reported that data centers consume nearly 1% of global electricity and contribute to 0.3% of CO2 emissions—and this market is rapidly growing, particularly with the advancement AI. However, the industry continues to work towards sustainability with new technologies and best practices. This includes the use of more sustainable building materials and construction, exploring alternative energy sources, and embracing innovative cooling solutions. In the wake of AI, sustainability is becoming more crucial for data centers for several reasons:

  • Energy consumption: AI applications require vast amounts of computational power, leading to increased energy consumption. Sustainable practices help reduce the carbon footprint of data centers, mitigating environmental impact.
  • Cost efficiency: Implementing sustainable technologies such as renewable energy sources and energy-efficient cooling systems can lower operational costs for data centers in the long run.
  • Reputation and customer demand: Businesses and consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious and investors are taking notice. Choosing sustainable data centers aligns with their values and can enhance a company’s reputation.
  • Future-proofing: Investing in sustainability ensures the long-term viability and resilience of data centers amidst evolving environmental challenges and regulations.
Vantage Data Centers

Sustainability Priorities with GBI President & CEO, Vicki Worden
DCD>Connect | New York 2024

The Clear Choice for Data Center Certification

Measurement and reporting are critical components of any ESG initiative. Investors, leadership, customers, and the local community are demanding impact transparency in all sectors, particularly for energy-intensive industries like technology.

As inherently complex and intricate facilities, data centers require a personalized sustainability certification that can keep pace with evolving technologies, shifting operational requirements, and stakeholder demands.

The Green Building Initiative (GBI), the global provider of Green Globes, is dedicated to improving the impact of the built environment on climate and society. 

Green Globes is a federally recognized three-in-one certification system and is the premier choice for data centers due to its unparalleled support, collaboration, and flexibility features. The process helps owners, operators, and lesees of new or existing mission-critical facilities achieve the most sustainable, healthy, and resilient outcomes, creating a more efficient and valuable asset. Green Globes certification ensures building owners and operators are executing on their commitments to design and/or operational excellence and community impact while demonstrating accountability to stakeholders.

With certifications for new construction, existing buildings, core and shell, and sustainable interiors, Green Globes offers a transparent and collaborative assessment process and includes:

  • An interactive user-friendly online questionnaire that provides transparency and encourages an integrated project team
  • Support from a dedicated third-party assessor and GBI Project Manager
  • A site assessment by a third-party assessor, that can be conducted either in-person or virtually
  • No “one size fits all” prerequisites, allowing all buildings to participate regardless of size, type, location, or budget
  • Multiple pathways to achieve credit for certain criteria, including Energy Performance, to promote criteria integration and allow for flexibility
  • A Design Review Report (new construction), and final report (all programs) detailing achievements and personalized recommendations for improvement.
  • Specialized supporting resources to improve data center design, construction, and operation

Who We’re Working With