Singapore striving for energy efficiency in thriving data centre sector

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According to the IDA, Singapore’s tropical climate and high humidity make cooling a major contributor to high energy footprint of data centres.

In Southeast Asia, Singapore accounts for 60 per cent of the data centre capacity in the region. As the industry grows, attention will be focused on reducing the energy consumption, says the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA).

According to the IDA, recent growth in the city-state’s data centre sector further strengthens Singapore’s position as an ‘Asian data management and connectivity hub’

Professor Toh Chai Keong, IDA’s assistant chief executive (Engineering & Technology Group) states that data centres in Singapore form a key part of the value chain of the city-state and are aligned with the Smart Nation initiative, which seeks to harness ICT, networks and data to support better living, create more opportunities, and support stronger communities.

IDA is embarking on a comprehensive Green Data Centre Innovation Programme (GDCIP) in a bid to increasing the overall energy efficiency of the Singapore data centre industry.

The IDA estimates that the 10 largest data centre operators in Singapore account for energy consumption equivalent to that of 130,000 HDB households (public housing). It notes that making just a 20% improvement in energy efficiency in existing commercial data centres can generate a combined annual savings exceeding US$25 million.

Keong said: “As more and more data centres establish themselves here in Singapore, there will be greater demand for energy. So to fulfill this expanded need, we have to start implementing measures and policies so that energy consumption by the data centres is sustainable.”

Utilising green tech for energy efficiency

In order to achieve the IDA’s vision of energy efficiency in the expanding data centre industry, The Green Data Centre Innovation Programme (GDCIP) will direct local R&D efforts in green data centre technologies, with the aid of research funding from the National Research Foundation.

Apart from research into possibly raising the level of tolerable heat within data centres, there also exists the need for smarter systems-level solution in IT and facilities. Reasearch efforts will be concentrated in the areas of sensors, real-time monitoring and analytics to optimise data centre operations and energy efficiency across facility and IT systems.

The GDCIP also endeavours to establish the state-of-the-art Green Data Centre Innovation Hub in Singapore.

“The GDCIP provides a neutral platform for all stakeholders to contribute to developing innovations that will reduce energy consumption and lower the impact on the planet we share,” said Mr Chang Tsann, member of the Steering Committee for The Green Grid Singapore and Practice Director, Data Centre Consulting Services, Asia Pacific and Japan, Dell.

“This will strengthen Singapore’s position as a significant global data centre hub and a future Smart Nation.”