Data centers are at the heart of digital economies worldwide. As digitalization accelerates, power loads, cooling costs, and water usage are skyrocketing. By 2026, data center electricity use alone is expected to double. How can data centers address increasing pressure to reduce their carbon footprints amid rapid digital expansion? Regulators, communities, customers, and shareholders are paying attention.

The good news is that even relatively small adjustments in data center operations can significantly improve sustainability. From grid to chip, Eaton’s vast experience as a manufacturer of critical infrastructure and digital solutions will help optimize energy usage through meaningful insights that enable informed decisions.

Getting ahead of compliance matters

Traditional metrics like power usage effectiveness (PUE) are becoming insufficient for assessing and addressing data center sustainability. PUE only measures the power used for IT equipment, without considering water usage or the overall effectiveness of the equipment.

The International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC) 30314 provides a more comprehensive framework for understanding and optimizing data center operations. This methodology addresses key performance indicators (KPIs), such as:

  • PUE
  • Water usage effectiveness (WUE)
  • Renewable energy factor (REF)
  • Energy reuse factor (ERF)
  • IT equipment energy efficiency for servers (ITEEsv)
  • IT equipment utilization for servers (ITEUsv)
  • Cooling efficiency ratio (CER), and more

Utilizing the ISO/IEC 30314 framework can help identify areas for improvement more effectively. In addition to providing the metrics needed to comply with global standards like ISO/IEC 30314, Eaton enables customized reporting to meet organizational, regional, or local compliance requirements.

A holistic approach to data center sustainability

Achieving sustainability goals requires an extensive understanding of energy systems – specifically how, where, and when power is used.

Eaton’s Brightlayer Data Centers suite includes the industry’s first digital platform that natively integrates asset management, IT and operational technology (OT) device monitoring, IT automation, power quality metrics, and one-line diagrams into a single, configurable application.

Leveraging decades of expertise in the data center industry (from low- and medium-voltage switchgear and transformers to uninterruptible power supplies, battery storage, and power distribution units) this platform consolidates information traditionally siloed in disparate applications. This provides a simple, comprehensive view of the energy and environmental footprint.

Eaton’s Brightlayer Data Centers suite
Access to a dashboard view of environmental impact simplifies understanding of actionable items, supports compliance, and enhances a data center's sustainability index – Eaton

Putting compliance requirements to work

From end to end, Eaton’s platform helps customers advance sustainability and improve operations by enabling monitoring, management, reporting, and optimization.

The platform includes three solutions that can be used independently or together based on a customer’s needs:

  1. Data Center Performance Management (DCPM) software monitors and manages IT assets to help drive operational efficiencies and maximize space, power, and cooling resources. With powerful visualizations, automated reports, and dashboards, DCPM provides traditional data center infrastructure management (DCIM) capabilities and much more.
  2. Electrical Power Monitoring System (EPMS) software helps customers understand where and when energy flows through their facility. Providing real-time and historical visibility for water, air, gas, electricity, and steam (WAGES), EPMS offers data-driven insights and reporting necessary to reduce energy consumption and comply with sustainability reporting requirements.
  3. Distributed IT Performance Management (DITPM) software provides remote management and control of network-connected assets, regardless of location or manufacturer. Further, DITPM can proactively identify and automate actions to prevent IT equipment failures, enhancing resiliency in critical edge locations.

Eaton’s proven and holistic digital approach is optimizing and digitalizing global energy systems – from data centers to the electric grid and across commercial and industrial applications. Through its software and digitally-enabled hardware, Eaton provides customers with an integrated solution to optimize their operations, whether it's a single core facility or thousands of edge locations.

More effective data and reporting on sustainability will help future-proof compliance, uncover opportunities to reduce resource consumption, increase customer satisfaction, and differentiate businesses. This approach improves data center performance by applying digitalization to make assets work harder, smarter, and more sustainably.