Digital tools facilitate sustainable data center construction.
Data center sustainability is top of mind for owners. Digital technology can help GCs build these centers more sustainably.
Big tech companies such as AWS, Google and Microsoft have set sustainability goals that encompass all areas of their business. Many are aiming to make their data centers carbon neutral within the foreseeable future. Sustainability matters during the construction process, too. When owners choose partners for data center construction, they look for contractors who share their eco-conscious values and have their own sustainability targets.
Digital tools like the ones highlighted here can help contractors increase their sustainability and win these lucrative jobs.
Remote temperature monitoring tools
Data centers that are under a roof but unfinished during cold weather may require heaters to protect installed materials such as drywall and flooring. While these heaters are critical, running them continuously keeps the building warmer than necessary and wastes fuel. The same goes for dehumidifiers once the structure is closed.
WEDGE, a remote monitoring solution exclusively from United Rentals, allows contractors to remotely monitor temperature and humidity and receive alerts when measurements exceed critical thresholds. With WEDGE, contractors can run heaters and dehumidifies only when strictly necessary. By adding Smart Heaters to the WEDGE system, users can adjust temperature settings remotely and turn heaters off and on room by room and floor by floor.
In addition to conserving energy used to power heaters and other equipment, remote monitoring cuts out trips to the jobsite, which eliminates the associated fuel use and emissions.
Emissions tracking tools
Heavy equipment is a significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Tracking those emissions can help contractors understand the environmental impact of their operations, but it isn’t always easy.
United Rentals customers can now keep tabs on their rental equipment’s estimated emissions with the Emissions Tracking feature in Total Control®, the company’s fleet management platform. Reports reveal the estimated GHG emissions for individual pieces of telematics-enabled equipment based on engine hours, horsepower, fuel type and more. Source pollutants including nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter are also tracked.
With this data in hand, contractors can make informed decisions around equipment rentals and equipment usage with an eye toward shrinking their carbon footprint.
To reduce emissions, they can shift their equipment utilization or choose to rent low- or no-emissions equipment, for example. To reduce diesel generator run time, they can use a portable, battery-based energy system such as United Rentals’ POWRBANK.
Equipment consumption management is an important aspect of eco-friendly construction. Doing more with less equipment not only reduces costs but also helps conserve natural resources.
Utilization reports in Total Control provide contractors with insights into exactly how efficiently they’re using their owned and rented equipment.
Based on utilization data, they can increase their sustainability by right-sizing their equipment fleet. This might entail reducing their equipment rentals or selling underutilized owned equipment and upgrading to newer, more eco-friendly rental equipment. Renting reduces the demand on natural resources used in equipment manufacturing and often cuts waste.
Today’s digital tools enable contractors to conserve fuel, reduce emissions, right-size their fleets and increase their equipment utilization. Use of these tools can make contractors look more attractive to owners interested in green data center construction. It can also provide very real benefits for the earth and all its inhabitants.