Data Center CO2 Calculator
Data centers consume a huge amount of energy and the global data center industry emits almost as much CO2 as the airline industry. In order to become more sustainable data centers should run on renewable power.
This data center CO2 calculator shows the difference in CO2 emissions and share of renewable energy used in selected European countries.
How to use the calculator:
1. Select the country where your data is currently located. (You can choose between the most frequently used locations in Northern Europe)
2. Input the estimated capacity you need in kW
3. Click “Calculate”.
How does the CO2 calculator work?
The purpose of this data center CO2 calculator is to identify how much you can save in CO2 emissions by moving your data to Norway. The calculator is based on two variables you have to input in order to calculate this: Data center location and capacity needed in kW. As locations, we have chosen the most frequently used data center hubs in Europe, the so-called FLAP-D countries, as well as one other Nordic country.
The calculator is based on the numbers from electricitymap.org where we capture live data of carbon intensity (gCO2eq/kWh) per country as well as share of renewable electricity consumption in the country. (For Norway we use the numbers for the West Coast of Norway.) Based on the CO2 intensity and the KW capacity needed we can calculate an estimated yearly carbon emission. This number will of course vary based on a specific region, type of data center, and so forth but gives you a fair indication. When comparing this to the average numbers of Norway and Green Mountain in particular*, you will receive the estimated annual CO2 savings. As we are collecting live data the results may also vary during the day and during the week.
*Norway is an integrated part of the Nordic Power System, meaning that to secure reportable carbon neutrality from our datacenters Green Mountain has secured our deliveries by certificates of origin in power purchase agreements with the grid providers. This is securing guaranteed 100 % renewable power use from our datacenters.
We have also gathered the historical Carbon Intensity data for all the countries in this calculator in the graph below it. The historical data is based on the average carbon intensity numbers per country, also collected from electrictymap.org. These numbers are updated every 6 months.
Examples of clients who have made the move to a more sustainable data center location.
Data Center for the Volkswagen Group
For the Volkswagen Group, Green Mountain built a HPC data center in only six months. The client even made this video about it:
Data Center for Mastercard
Mastercard chose Green Mountain as their data center provider for the world’s first real-time, cross-border bank payment system together with the P27 Nordic Payments Group. They have published an article where you can read more about this sustainable project.
You may ask..?
Why have you not included all European countries in this calculator? Especially the other Nordic countries?
It is of course possible but in this first version we chose to focus on the FLAP-D hubs. If you visit electricitymap.org you will be able to see the carbon intensity numbers of almost all European countries. However, if this tool proves to be useful for our website visitors, we will add more countries to the list.
Sustainability is not solely about power usage. This calculator only gives you a part of the picture?
Yes, that is true. Sustainability includes not only energy use but other elements such as environmental pollution, water usage, waste handling, and so forth. The UN Sustainable Development Goals gives indeed a much broader picture. These aspects should be a natural part of the assessment when considering a new data center location. Nevertheless, for a data center, the single biggest impact it has on the environment is its energy use. More specifically: What type of energy it uses and how much. The majority of data centers around the world run on fossile fuels which cause carbon emissions and harms the environment. In addition to the type of energy used, you should always consider how energy effective the data center is. The less power it uses, the less it pollutes. In this regard, the PUE metric can be a good guideline.
Green Energy is an important decision criterion, but it is not the only one. We can not ignore costs when making these decisions. Is a “green” data center more expensive?
Not necessarily. The cost element is largely dependent on the price and taxes on electricity. In Norway for instance, the electricity price is far below the European average. Cost is of course a very important element to consider. Compared to the FLAP-D countries, you save an average of 1.55 million EUR annually per MW of capacity by having your data in Norway. We have written an article on the subject here.
Norway is mainly powered by hydropower. What kind of environmental footprint has this type of energy source?
Although 100% renewable, building hydropower plants can have an environmental impact to their surroundings. However, due to natural conditions Norwegian hydropower has a minimal ecological footprint – you can read more about that here in this article by Innovation Norway. Moreover, hydropower is the ideal renewable energy source for data centers. It can be stored and thus provides clean energy around the clock.