The green transformation of digitalisation

Using resources of all kinds in a responsible and conscientious manner is one of the biggest challenges facing mankind, and which must under all circumstances be dealt with beyond the measures taken already. Digitalisation will certainly take an increasingly heavy toll on our environment – bear in mind that while eight out of ten servers worldwide are not operating at full capacity, they are still running at full energy consumption. What is more, data centres account for 13 per cent of total global energy consumption. However, technology also helps us to conserve resources and therefore protect the environment.

One concrete example for this is provided by Cloudflight, a leading full-service provider for the digital transformation in Europe. With its offering based on cloud-native technology, the company enables an intelligent cloud management as a tool for reducing the energy and resources consumption of IT infrastructure. The possibilities range from the smart use of computing capacities – with a reduction in CPU downtimes – to the efficient selection of hardware. Moreover, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions offer another resource-conserving option for the cross-company use of IT infrastructure – in the form of small, decentralised computers instead of large, complex IT hardware.

Green Datahub is another example of an energy-efficient approach: the company operates a data centre powered by certified renewable energy sources, whose energy consumption for cooling is, on average, one third lower than that of other data centres. This saving is achieved, among other things, through the use of highly efficient cooling and electro-technical facilities, a coordinated cooling concept of IT system rooms, continuous improvements of all facility components, and constant maintenance and repair. In addition, surplus thermal energy generated by the servers is used to heat a sports hall, so that a large part of the electrical energy consumed can be reused. The data centre is operated by akquinet, a DBAG portfolio company.

To discuss and cultivate possibilities and ideas such as these, DBAG was involved in the Sustainable IT Summit, which took place for the first time on 14 March 2023 in Dusseldorf. The event brought together decision-makers from politics, IT service and infrastructure providers, consulting firms, system houses, associations and international companies from the Rhine-Ruhr region. The aim was to create a common guiding principle, based on examples of innovation and sustainability, to define sustainable development of the IT sector in the Rhine-Ruhr area.

“We at Deutsche Beteiligungs AG believe that the careful use of our planet’s resources is indispensable. According to the principle of ‘promoting and challenging’, we develop ideas and projects together with our portfolio companies, for example, to drive the green transformation of IT infrastructure. To achieve this, we rely on a holistic approach with maximum impact. Our portfolio company Green Datahub is one example of this: it has one of Germany’s most energy-efficient data centres and provides a large number of companies with IT capacities that run completely on certified green electricity”, explains Christoph Großekämper, a Managing Director at DBAG.

The Sustainable IT Summit was organised by the Sustainable Digital Infrastructure Alliance e.V. (SDIA), which advocates the strengthening of regional, sustainable digital infrastructure at a European level.