Renewable energy has become synonymous with modern data centres – an operation powered by fossil fuels is quite simply a PR nightmare.
In light of this, Iron Mountain has toiled to make its operations in Europe environmentally friendly and today announced that its data centres in Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom are now all 100 percent powered by renewable energy sources.
With a combination of green power contracts, Iron Mountain has negotiated effective wind and other renewable sources to supply all of its electricity usage in these countries.
This milestone comes on the back of the company joining the RE100 initiative earlier this year where the company announced its goal of making its entire global operations 100 percent powered by renewable energy sources by 2050.
Iron Mountain had a steep hill to climb with its Europe operations, as the company asserts like other global organisations, its primary source of electricity has been coal and natural gas and consequently the biggest single factor driving its greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint.
Obviously data centres require continuous power to maintain the operation of servers, and according the Iron Mountain, in 2016 electricity use alone made up almost half of the company’s GHG emissions.
The company acquired data centres in Slough and Amsterdam earlier this year, with the former using as much energy as all of Iron Mountain’s UK’s records management facilities combined, while the latter doubled the company’s energy footprint in Europe.
"With the growth in our footprint in the UK and Benelux, we knew there would be an increase in our electricity usage that would significantly affect our environmental impact," says Iron Mountain senior vice president and UK and Ireland general manager Steve Kowalkoski.
"At the same time, we are aware we have an obligation to operate responsibly in the environments where we live and work, despite growth in our business. Looking across our operations, including the recent data centre acquisitions, they saw an opportunity and solved this environmental challenge in a way that's good for our business and our customers while also ensuring we are prepared for future business and footprint growth."
Kowalkoski says removing Iron Mountain’s dependence on fossil fuels will not only benefit the environment, but also the company as it will have better control on cost as fossil fuel prices are often volatile.
Last year wind and solar powered totalled 30 percent of the company’s global electricity supply, and Iron Mountain Environmental Social and Governance Strategy vice president Kevin Hagen is confident this number will rise.
"As a global organisation, we recognise that continued dependence on fossil fuels for electricity generation and usage has a negative effect on our worldwide carbon footprint. We also recognise that by reducing or eliminating our dependence on that kind of energy we can run our business better, with more predictable costs for energy,” says Hagen.
“Our global commitment to social and environmental responsibility encourages and enables us to look for ways to deliver positive impact for our communities, for the environment and for our bottom line. We look forward to expanding our RE100 commitment to other countries and regions, working with others to help create a greener, more equitable, cost effective grid for everyone."