Four data centres pledge to conduct NABERS audit

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Four data centres pledge to conduct NABERS audit

Everybody needs good NABERS.

Canberra Data Centres, Digital Realty, Interactive and NextDC have pledged to have their data centres assessed for a NABERS rating, after each helped to define the technical requirements for the energy efficiency standard.

Representatives from the four co-lo providers went public with their commitment to the standard in front of their peers at the Australian Data Centre Strategy Summit on the Gold Coast late yesterday, one year on from the official launch of the standard.

At present, two halls of Fujitsu’s Noble Park data centre are the only facilities to achieve an official NABERS rating, owing largely to a requirement for assessors to audit 12 months of performance data before a rating can be bestowed.

A contract between the NSW Government and Metronode also commits the latter to achieving a five star NABERS rating for the data centres it is building in the Illawarra and Silverwater (Sydney).

The four companies have agreed to gain a rating within 12-18 months. Interactive national data centre manager Eamonn Eason confirmed the company is already several months into recording energy data to meet the criteria.

Gordon Paddy, data centre consultant at NextDC, told attendees it had been largely a commercial decision to support the rating, predicting that it will differentiate service providers in the market. 

Damien Spillane, head of engineering at Digital Realty, said the wholesale provider was supporting the standard in the hope that it will bring clarity to the energy efficiency claims of all industry players - many which have made spurious claims to low PUE (power usage effectiveness) metrics.

“There was a lack of transparency around how PUE was being measured,” Spillane said.

“It’s driven by customers,” Interactive's Eason said. “In 2008, we offered green power across our data centres in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, but there was very little take-up from customers.

“Now its in every tender document, from co-location to managed services. Second to that, I want to knock on the head these optimistic PUEs that keep popping up in the industry.”

Glenn Allan, data centre transformation manager at National Australia Bank, said the bank’s commitment extends from standards it set for its office buildings. Allan said the ratings tool will help him manage stakeholders when decommissioning small and inefficient computer rooms across the bank’s portfolio for consolidation into its more modern and efficient facilities.

All four organisations were on the technical committee that informed the development of the standard.

Fujitsu head of sustainability Lee Stewart recommended his fellow panellists invest in the necessary metering to ensure reporting can be sufficiently granular.

"One of the tactical things we've had to do is ensure the metering is accurate," Spillane said. "Yes, there are costs associated with that, but the value of the [data centre] asset also increases."

Carlos Flores, a senior technical specialist at NABERS, told the summit that 37 individuals had been certified to offer NABERS for data centres audits to date. Flores said he expected NABERS for data centres to be a force in the industry regardless of whether it is made mandatory by the Australian Government. 

Panellists noted it took close to ten years for NABERS for office buildings to become mandatory.

"I don't think NABERS for data centres will take that long," Allan said. 

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