Embodied carbon in the green data center …


Just when you thought things couldn’t get more complicated, I read about embodied carbon in the data center. If your head doesn’t hurt yet, it will.

The idea of embodied carbon is that the carbon footprint of the data center consists of not only the carbon produced in the operation of it but all the carbon involved in the production and transportation of the equipment as well. Got any idea of how much carbon is embodied in a cabinet? How about a section of steel cable rack vs a section of aluminum cable rack?

It gets even more complicated. Take into account the life span of whatever the item is, combined with the amount of effort required to recycle it.

I can also see this getting into some crazy tradeoffs. Does the energy saving gained by use of copper wire offset the carbon embodied in the wire itself?

I think you could get nuts with this, spending such a large amount of time accounting and balancing every single thing that you’d never get anything accomplished. Don’t let the complexity of things like this keep you from getting anything done. Make the best green choices possible for the big things and then worry about the minutae later.

Vern, SwiftWater Telecom

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