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Bill Thomson of DC BLOX at DCW 2022 Data Center World
Bill Thomson of DC BLOX explaining why his company chose to partner with DEEP during a keynote at Data Center World 2022.

Data Center World 2022: What is DEEP?

New sustainability certification hopes to encourage better practices across the data center industry.

A new industry framework launched by Informa Tech aims to simplify the implementation of sustainability measures in the data center.

The Data Center Efficiency Evolution Program, or DEEP, goes beyond power consumption, and looks at many other aspects of the data center that can impact the environment, including water use and eWaste.

The program is designed to certify organizations that follow best practices, based on an extensive evaluation framework, and an on-site assessment of the facility.

“We have received a tremendous amount of interest. It seems everybody understands that we need this program, and we need it now,” Kevin Kent, founder and CEO of Critical Facilities Efficiency Solutions, said during a keynote at Data Center World 2022.

Going DEEP-er

DEEP was developed in consultation with data center owners and operators over several years, and first introduced at DCW 2021.

“We understand that any framework that we want to be widely accepted, and widely adopted, needs to be rigorously peer-reviewed and tested – and that’s what we’ve been hard at work doing,” said Liz Cruz, director of data center programs at Informa.

The current iteration of the DEEP framework includes more than 70 parameters used to score and evaluate data centers across subjects like airflow management, electrical systems, mechanical systems, and processes. It builds on the analysis of current data center standards and guidelines, including those from LEED, DoE, BICSI, ASHRAE, AFCOM, and the Green Grid.

The framework includes an 8-hour on-site assessment of the data center by an industry professional, that is then audited by the members of the DEEP Certification Council. It also includes the production of a detailed report with recommendations for improvements.

To date, DEEP has been trialed by several data center operators, including Bluebird Networks, Digital Fortress, DC BLOX, and Banner Health.

“We have a culture at DC BLOX where we like to say we serve locally – and that’s not only with our business services, we like to contribute in social and environmental ways,” said Bill Thomson, VP of product management at DC BLOX, a colocation provider with five facilities across the southeastern US.

“DC BLOX is relatively early in terms of our ESG initiatives, we’ve just formed our ESG committee formally last year, and we are now in the process of defining what we want to do.

“When [Informa Tech] asked for our input and insight into the DEEP program, we were very impressed, because it was very practical – it includes a lot of best practices for the data center industry, obviously formed by data center insiders, who really understood the technology, and the processes, and the issues we would be facing.

“We think it is going to help us understand where we are in terms of best practice in the industry today, identify any gaps we might have, or opportunities for improving sustainability over time, and enable us to create a roadmap. And obviously, that’s valuable information we can use to set budgets and programs within the company, but also to communicate externally to our customers.”

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