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3 Ways Digital Realty Is Taking Steps Towards Sustainability and Being Recognized for It

December 19, 2016  |  Written by Aaron Binkley, Director of Sustainability

It’s no myth that data centers are large energy consumers, which is why it is imperative for industry leaders to take steps towards implementing renewable energy practices. At Digital Realty, we are thoroughly committed to meeting our sustainability goals and managing our environmental impact. As such, we’re extremely pleased to announce a number of points of industry recognition of our progress on that commitment in the last two months. 

First, we placed well the rankings of members the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership, coming in at number 18 in the National Top 100 Partners list, as well as number six in Tech and Telecom. The National Top 100 list represents the largest green power users within the Green Power Partnership, while the Top 30 Tech & Telecom list represents the largest green power users among technology and telecommunications partners.

Second, I was honored to have been selected for the People’s Choice Awards as part of the 2016 BOLD Awards at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Los Angeles in September. The BOLD Awards recognize Building Optimizers, Leaders and Disruptors who are utilizing technology to contribute impactful innovations to commercial real estate. 

Third, just last week, we have been named a Top Socially Responsible Dividend Stock by Dividend Channel, signifying a stock with above-average “DividendRank” statistics including a strong 4.0% yield, as well as being recognized by prominent asset managers as being a socially responsible investment through analysis of social and environmental criteria. I’m inspired to be a part of a team which is leading the field in applying innovation and creativity to help solve sustainability challenges. These recognitions are a great reflection on the success of a number of sustainability efforts initiated here at Digital Realty in the last year: 

1.     Powering data centers with wind

Recognizing the growing demand for renewably powered data centers, Digital Realty has entered into a clean energy agreement with E.ON Climate and Renewables. With this agreement in place, we will receive approximately 400,000 megawatt-hours of wind power annually, officially offsetting 100 percent of our U.S. colocation and interconnection business energy usage. Additionally, this reduces our carbon footprint by approximately 275,000 metric tons per year.

2.     Investing in sustainable development

We posted our Green Bond Use-of-Proceeds Statement, which details some of our investments in industry-leading sustainable data center development. Digital Realty has committed approximately $493M to projects certified under LEED, BREEAM and CEEDA sustainable rating standards.

3.     Saving water with cooling technology

By partnering with Emerson Network Power, we received approval from the California Energy Commission to utilize pumped-refrigerant economization to cool our data centers in California. By using this tactic, we cut electric usage by 16 percent and saved close to four million gallons of water annually.

We realize there’s still work to be done in moving towards becoming more sustainable and utilizing innovative uses of green power. This isn’t an overnight process. However, we hope that other corporations, our partners and customers among them, will be inspired to take action and scale up their conservation efforts in the same, if not better, manner. We look forward to updating you with other successful initiatives soon.

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