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A new standard developed by Singapore’s Infocomm Development Authority and Building and Construction Authority for green data center design now takes into account new data centers.

The BCA-IDA Green Mark for Data Centres launched in October last year previously covered data centers occupying purpose-built buildings or are part of a larger building.

The new addition sees the BCA and IDA encourage new data centers to adopt energy efficiency design, technologies and systems in their planning and design phase.

The new BCA and IDA said the scheme relies on energy modelling to assess the performance of a proposed data center design.

Key criteria of assessment include energy efficiency, water efficiency, sustainable construction and management, indoor environment quality and other green features.

Data centers are rated according to Green Mark Platinum, GoldPLUS, Gold or Certified ratings, similar to assessment for existing data centers.

Abbott Laboratories Singapore has already become a recipient of the BCA-IDA Green Mark Award for New Data Centres.

Its data center was rated Green Mark Gold for its efforts to introduce efficient design strategies such as the use of modular design which optimizes performance through addressing phases in usage demand, the selection of energy efficient IT equipment and the deployment of virtualisation technology.

BCA CEO Dr John Keung said Abbott's experience serves to underline how data centers can potentially realize significant cost savings by targeting energy efficiency in design.

When fully operational, Abbott's data center is expected to achieve energy savings of more than one million kilowatt hours annually.

"The data center market is set to grow rapidly in the next few years and this represents many opportunities for companies to step forward not only to do their part for the environment, but also to realize cost savings for their business,” Keung said.

“Aside from cost savings, green data centers may also open up market opportunities through increased credibility and recognition by clients for their environment-friendly initiatives."

Singapore's total commercial data center capacity is forecast to rise by 51% to 336,900 sq m by 2015, from 222,829 sq m, according to a 2010 Broadgroup report.

There are currently more than 50 data centers in Singapore, of which 20 are large data centers.

A typical large data center in Singapore is estimated to consume energy equivalent to 10,000 households, which potentially offers significant cost savings for a Green Mark-certified data center.

Mr Leong Keng Thai, Deputy Chief Executive & Director-General (Telecoms & Post) of IDA said: "Data Centers can improve their cost-competitiveness by reducing overall energy use, as the energy bill makes up a significant portion of their operating budget. Those who can achieve the highest rating under this Green Mark can potentially reap energy savings of at least 30%."

Three data centres - Credit Suisse Asia Pacific Regional Data Centre (Platinum award), Equinix SG2 Data Centre (Gold Plus award) and Singapore Tourism Board Data Centre (Gold award) have been presented with the BCA-IDA Green Mark Awards for Existing Data Centres today by BCA's Chairman, Mr Quek See Tiat.

Rated Platinum, Credit Suisse Regional Data Centre's winning features include an efficient air-conditioning system, the use of energy efficient IT equipment and virtualization technology to reduce overall IT equipment power demand.

Such features enabled the data center with 10,000 sq ft of net IT space to achieve energy savings of 3.85m kWh annually. The IDA said this translates to annual cost savings of SGD$1m. A typical similar size data center in Singapore consumes an average of 18.1m kWh annually.

The BCA-IDA Green Mark for Data Centres is the result of a two-year collaborative effort between BCA and IDA, with supporting partners from Energy Research Institute@Nanyang Technological University (ERI@N) and Lawrence Berkeley National Labs (LBLN) in the United States. It is an extension of the successful BCA Green Mark for buildings scheme launched in 2005.