How Climate Change Impacts Data Center Site Selection

5 Sep 2023 by Colocation

Environmentally friendly data centers are becoming more prominent as high-power data centers become more common. As the volume of data expands, so does the data center's size, demanding more power to manage it. As a result, a growing number of companies are creating environmentally friendly data centers to address climate change. 

Pressure from digitalization and climate change conflict in data centers. Organizations want new digital infrastructure to process and store the growing amount of data they produce – and they require it quickly. However, that infrastructure must have as little of an environmental impact as possible and operate for years despite climate change. 

Ultimately, a data center is a long-term investment, and selecting a location necessitates consideration of the business's demands as well as the requirements of the local community. 

With that, here are some ways in which data center site selection has been altered due to climate change: 

Energy Demands 

As more and more data needs to be processed, the larger a data center must get. Thus, the greatest method to reduce a data center's environmental impact and operating costs is to reduce the amount of power it requires. 

Energy losses in the cooling system of a data center might account for a large portion of the total power requirement. A data center's Power Usage Efficiency (PUE) is determined by dividing the absolute power consumed by the power used primarily for computing. The system is more efficient if the ratio is close to 1.0. 

With this in mind, paying close attention to temperature, reducing excessive server utilization, and optimizing power storage dynamics are all relatively low-cost strategies to make data centers more energy-efficient. The cooling of servers consumes around 40% of the energy used by data centers. 

Passive cooling, a system that prevents hot and cold air from mixing, and immersive liquid cooling, where servers get immersed in a rack filled with coolant that can have a thousand times the heat capacity of air, are two options for increasing efficiency. The heat from the servers gets absorbed by the coolant, which gets removed from the rack. 

Resource Scarcity 

Data center colocation has emerged as a driving force behind the adoption of renewable energy commitments. As IT businesses recognize the environmental impact of their operations, they are actively seeking ways to mitigate their carbon footprint.  

By choosing a data center facility that prioritize renewable energy, companies can ensure that their data center infrastructure is powered by clean sources. This shift towards sustainable energy is not only beneficial for the environment but also for the utility jurisdictions where these data centers are located. With the support of IT businesses, sizable renewable energy projects are being established, boosting local economies and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.  

This collaborative effort between data center colocation providers and IT businesses marks a significant step towards a greener future. The next logical step in this process is for tech companies and corporate data-center customers to create their renewable energy capacity, either on-site or inside their utility service areas. 

AWS, for instance, is actively investing in new wind farms in the United States and Europe, including a new 91.2MW project off the coast of Donegal, Ireland, to supply its data centers in the Dublin area. In addition, many businesses are considering solar power if their locations are suitable. 

Whereas wind and solar are both weather-dependent, tidal power is a more reliable, stable option. Because tidal power is predictable, the necessary energy storage systems may get sized efficiently and affordably. 

Unpredictability of Site 

Data center designers and operators must consider climate change and its consequences from the beginning of the asset creation process to ensure reliability. 

Flooding, droughts, and lightning strikes produced by increasingly frequent storms might have catastrophic consequences. As a result, the location must consider the probability of increasing flooding or droughts, which could jeopardize crucial water sources. 

Furthermore, even if you thoroughly assess a location for seismic activity, natural catastrophe risk, talent availability, and broadband availability, unforeseen factors might still ruin a project. The sheer intricacy of data center construction, for example, is a danger. 

Multiple vendors, subcontractors, and up to 50 disciplines are often involved in the project, including structural, electrical, HVAC, plumbing, fuel pumps, networking, and security. As a result, the vast majority of data center failures are caused by human error. Nearly three-quarters of operators believe that improved management, processes, or setup might have prevented downtime in the most severe cases. 

Skilled and experienced project managers must oversee the endeavor from start to finish to ensure a seamless operation. 


Due to the digital revolution and the growing concern for the environment, people's lifestyles and work environments have undergone significant transformations. The rise of digital technologies has allowed individuals to embrace remote work, flexible schedules, and digital nomadism.  

As a result, colocation services, which provide physical space for businesses to house their servers and IT infrastructure, must adapt to meet the changing needs of this evolving workforce. These services now need to offer more than just reliable power and connectivity; they must also provide sustainable practices, energy-efficient solutions, and flexible configurations to support the demands of a digital and eco-conscious world.  

By embracing and adapting to changes, colocation services have the potential to remain a critical component of the modern digital landscape while also minimizing their impact on the environment. Sustainable practices not only benefit the environment but also offer cost savings for both the provider and their clients. By prioritizing environmental responsibility, colocation services can align with the growing demand for greener solutions in the digital era. 

Data centers should be at the forefront of adopting clean, sustainable technology, promoting advancements that benefit society directly by reducing the usage of finite resources and lowering the cost of data storage and processing. 

Data center construction is indeed a long-term investment that requires meticulous planning and careful consideration. When it comes to constructing a hyperscale data center, due diligence becomes paramount.  

The decision to build a data center involves extensive research, analyzing current and future needs, understanding technological advancements, and evaluating financial implications. A well-designed and properly constructed data center can provide a reliable infrastructure that supports the ever-increasing demands of data-intensive applications and services.  

By investing time and resources into proper planning and construction, organizations can ensure scalability, efficiency, and security for their data storage and processing needs. This long-term perspective allows businesses to stay ahead in an increasingly digital world and adapt to evolving technologies and market demands. 

Author Colocation provides consulting and engineering support around colocation and has developed a platform for Datacenter Colocation providers to compete for your business. It takes just 2-3 minutes to create and submit a customized colocation RFP that will automatically engage you and your business with the industry leading datacenter providers in the world. provides a platform to view and research all the datacenter locations and compare and analyze the different attributes of each datacenter. Check out our Colocation Marketplace to view pricing from top colocation providers.  


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