CenturyLink, which has more than 30 data centers in the US consuming about 200MW total, today joined a DoE program called the Better Buildings Challenge. The company has committed to improving energy efficiency in those facilities by 25 percent by 2023.
Bill Gast, CenturyLink’s director of global data center energy efficiency, said uncertainty about ownership of the portfolio in the future hasn’t disrupted the current push to improve its efficiency that started last year.
“We’re still finishing up projects we started in 2015,” he said. “We’re continuing to invest, and we have funding to do that.”
The benchmark year for the improvements is 2013, meaning efficiency of the portfolio in 2023 will be compared to its efficiency in 2013, prior to the time the company started its portfolio-wide improvement project. In fact, it’s already reached 60 to 70 percent of the goal in Gast’s estimate.
The company and the third-party consultants that will verify its progress for the DoE will use Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) to measure efficiency.
The bulk of CenturyLink’s efficiency gains so far have come from upgrading data center cooling systems, he said. The company has started deploying cooling technologies that are relatively new to the data center industry, such as the heat wheel and CenturyLink’s proprietary cooling system design called Chiller in a Box. Gast expects to meet the efficiency goal for the entire US portfolio by continuing to implement cooling upgrades.
There are some data centers in the US CenturyLink is in but doesn’t operate, and they are not part of the initiative. “They represent less than 10 percent of the company’s domestic portfolio”, Gast said.
Digital and CenturyLink are two of five data center providers that have joined the DoE’s challenge, according to the program’s website. The others are I/O Data Centers, Sabey Data Centers, and Iron Mountain.