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Digital Realty makes gains on data centre sustainability in Singapore with new cooling tower initiative

Digital Realty makes gains on data centre sustainability in Singapore with new cooling tower initiative

APACGreen TechnologyPower & CoolingTop Stories

Digital Realty, one of the largest global providers of cloud- and carrier-neutral data centre, colocation and interconnection solutions, has announced a new cooling tower initiative at its SIN10 data centre that aims to pioneer new levels of water conservation and efficiency in its data centres in Singapore. 

This initiative is the first of its kind to be implemented in Singapore’s data centre industry. Employing a process known as DCI electrolysis, Digital Realty eliminated the use of chemicals to treat blow-down water discharge – water that is drained from cooling equipment to remove mineral build-up – from the cooling towers in its chiller systems. This allowed Digital Realty to triple the number of times the same pool of water can be used at its SIN10 cooling towers before it is discharged as wastewater, resulting in 1.24 million litres of water saved monthly. 

Singapore’s business sector currently uses 55% of the nation’s overall water supply. With this figure projected to increase to 70% by 2060, water sustainability is necessarily a firm focus for Singapore’s data centre industry.

Since the implementation of DCI electrolysis in February 2023, Digital Realty has reduced monthly blow-down water discharge at SIN10 by 90%. Water Usage Efficiency (WUE) at SIN10 has improved by 15%, besting the Singapore Public Utilities Board’s industry benchmark of 2.6 Cu.m/MWh for data centres by 30%.

Beyond water conservation, SIN10’s electricity requirements have come down as a result of minimal mineral build-up in the cooling towers, enabling the overall cooling system to run more effectively. The risk of polluting Singapore’s water systems is also minimised, with cleaner wastewater being discharged from the cooling towers. 

Digital Realty seeks to lead the global data centre industry in sustainable environmental performance and focuses on a science-based, holistic approach to sustainability; core to this strategy is improving resource efficiency in areas such as energy, water, waste and carbon. 

This cooling tower project demonstrates Digital Realty’s continued focus on implementing practical, high-impact solutions to contribute to the overall conservation of this vital resource worldwide. Since 2020, the company has reduced its global water intensity by 7%. It joins Digital Realty’s other recently announced sustainability measures in APAC to contribute to the company’s global effort to reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 68% and Scope 3 emissions by 24% by 2030, the aggressive science-based carbon emissions target it set in 2020 with the Science-Based Target initiative (SBTi).

“Digital Realty is committed to minimising the environmental impact of data centres. This cooling tower initiative showcases how water usage can become far more efficient and we hope this sets the standard for other data centres to follow,” said Jon Curry, Vice President of Operations APAC, Digital Realty.

“The project has yielded very promising results and we intend to extend this initiative to our other two data centres in Singapore (SIN11 and SIN12) and do our part to optimise resource use in the industry. Sustainability will always be at the core of our business as we continue working toward building and maintaining data centres that maximise our customers’ growth while minimising our environmental impact.”

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