Sustainability becomes a real challenge when an organization's main raw material involves a sparse source of energy and ours is no exception. Our persistent innovation helps us:
- Utilize non-renewable source of energy appropriately.
- Maintain a trade-off between energy utilization.
- Maintain a commitment to save energy for future generations without compromising the quality of rendering services in the present.
Reliance on both renewable and non-renewable sources of energy is indispensible for the functioning of our organization. The best possible efforts that we could make from our end would be to increase the efficiency of usage of the existing resources and to find out alternative sources of energy, which are from renewable sources. While making attempts to make use of alternate sources of energy, we ensure that the cost incurred for the same does not burden our end customers or any other stakeholders. Therefore, economic viability of the usage of energy across the supply chain is measured before entering into new ventures.
One of the most critical resources consumed by our organization for the delivery of goods and services is electricity. A major portion of our electricity is derived from non renewable sources of energy. During the year 2013 - 14, with the objective of promoting the usage of energy generated by renewable sources we have facilitated investments to tap solar and wind energy, the details of which are briefed in the forth-coming sections.
The services that involve maximum amount of electricity consumption are:
- Data centre services
- Connectivity services
- Administrative offices
For the year 2013-14, direct power costs for the power used in data centres, constitute around 10% of the total direct costs incurred by our company, as against 13% in the year 2012-13. We have ensured efficiency in the usage of power in spite of the commencement of operations in our new data centre at Noida during the year 2013-14. Total power costs for the power utilized by the data centres, towers and administrative offices constitutes about 8% of our total expenses incurred. The composition of our total power costs based on usage for the year 2013-14 is represented in the following sections.
Identifying and classifying the usage of power based on the functions, has helped us identify effective ways of increasing efficiency in the usage of power.
Exploring the potential of renewable energy sources
As a major breakthrough measure to regulate our dependency on non renewable sources of energy and exploiting the potential offered by the renewable sources of energy, we kick started our efforts to utilize solar energy and wind energy for our towers and data centres, respectively. Power drawn through wind energy is currently being used for our data centre in Bangalore and we are in the process of using the power derived from wind energy for our data centre in Mumbai.
Installation of solar panels seemed expensive during the initial stages. However, we believe that we can incur monetary benefits and pave way for the reduction of power consumption in the installed locations. We are conducting an ongoing evaluation of the savings in power costs, for each base station.
Data Centre Operations
Presently, our organization provides hosting services to customers through its six data centres. The new data centres have been commissioned keeping in mind the sustainability initiatives, the outcome of which are the following.
Motion Sensor Integrated Lighting:
Our data centre constructed at Noida has been installed with lights that are integrated to motion sensors. The lights automatically switch on when there is a motion detected by the sensor. If there is no activity for a few minutes, the lights automatically turn off. This has proved to be a major power saver in the new facility.
Use of Water based cooling system:
The data centres require large amount of cooling (non-IT load) because of the generation of heat by IT equipment. To regulate the heat generated, cooling systems have to be implemented. This ensures efficient functioning of the servers inside the data centres. This cooling is presently provided through a combination of chiller plants and air conditioners in all ourexisting data centres.
Apart from the traditional cooling methodologies, a hybrid cooling mechanism has been implemented in our Noida data centre, where in gas- or oil-based cooling systems have been replaced with water-based cooling systems. Implementation of the water-based cooling systems is estimated to bring down the power consumption when compared to the oil-/gas-based ones. Water-based cooling systems also help in creating lesser emission thereby reducing our carbon footprint.
Telecom Towers and Base Stations
Telecom towers have been installed in 1000+ locations for providing connectivity to the customers. Currently, the energy source for such telecom towers is grid power, or diesel, in case of power failure. Of the total expenditure for power and fuel, towers constitute around 14% and with an initiative to reduce such power consumption and utilize solar energy, we have implemented solar panels on a test basis.
Installation of solar panels:
The generation of solar energy is primarily dependant on the availability of sunlight and the intensity of the rays. On a test basis to get a feed back on the success of the project, solar panels have been implemented in 11 base stations, five in East, four in North and two in South. The installation of these panels has helped in reducing the consumption of diesel in our base stations. Presently, we are not able to quantify the number of units of power generated by these base stations, but the installation of these panels is estimated to bring about a cost saving of almost 50%, per base station.
Installation of these solar panels has helped in reduction of transportation costs of employees (where power failure demands physical presence of to provide additional back up for power supply. Currently, there is no track of the energy generated by the solar panels in data centres and we are instituting mechanisms to derive this data.
One of the challenges in setting up these solar panels is the resistance from landlords, because it consumes additional space. The success of implementation of solar panels at our base stations would depend on the cooperation we receive from the landlords at various locations.
Our solar panel at Noida
Power saving at administrative offices involves a larger amount of manual intervention and adherence to sustainability in its true sense among the employees of the organization. Electricity at administrative offices is consumed for performing day-to-day activities, the usage of which cannot be avoided. However, efforts can be taken to increase the efficiency.
The rate of consumption of electricity would continue to increase in absolute terms, as our business continues to grow.
Maintenance of uptime is one of the most critical criteria for customers, while choosing a data centre or connectivity service provider. The uptime is maintained only when continuous power supply is available, to run the data centres and connectivity equipments With electricity being the back bone of our business activities, diesel acts as the second major source of energy, during emergencies. Diesel is used to run the generator sets at the data centres, administrative offices and tower locations. The dependency on diesel is inevitable during instances of power failure in data centres maintained and hosted by the company.
The diesel consumption constitutes about 3% of our total power cost and this proportion increases/decreases based on the availability of electricity in the significant locations of operations.
Currently, the consumption data is captured only for the data centres. Mechanisms to derive the consumption data for administrative offices and tower locations are yet to be put in place. The volume of diesel consumed on tower locations can be challenging, taking into account the quantum of tower locations and their geographic spread across the country.
Below is the consumption of diesel in litres across the data centres. The consumption of diesel is monitored through the consumption register.
|Data Centre||Electricity Consumption(inGiga Joules)|
|Total consumption ||275,148|
The electricity consumption is calculated based on the units taken from the meters installated by the electricity board in the respective locations.
From the year 2013-14, we have started using the power generated by using wind energy in our Bangalore data centre. We have invested in one of the companies producing wind energy; this company provides us with the agreed amount of power based on the terms of the contract. The power generated by windmills is being transmitted to the grids owned by government authorities, from which the power is drawn through regular electricity lines.
During the year that ended on March 31, 2014 4,673,211 Kilowatt hours of power was generated by using wind energy. Of the power generated about 4,275,000 kilowatt of power was consumed thus providing an overload on power for the Bangalore data centre. This helped us save a considerable amount on the power cost incurred.
The following table describes the cooling consumption:
|Data Centre||EB consumption(KWA)|
|Total consumption ||12,435|
Initiatives to use renewable sources of energy:
Green Data Centre
With the increasing awareness to create environment-friendly business processes, Sify is actively engaged in the process of identifying innovative means of using energy efficient resources. Needless to say, the data centres consume a large amount of energy for its heating and cooling requirements. As one of the few initial steps in our drive to create an eco-friendly environment, we have adopted the ‘Green Data Centre Policy’; this is defined under the Sify Data Centre Architecture version 4.0 (SDC 4.0).
A data centre is a repository for the storage, management, and dissemination of data; the 'green' factor maximizes the process in which the mechanical, lighting, electrical and computer systems are designed for maximum energy efficiency and minimum environmental impact. The construction and operation of a green data centre includes advanced technologies and strategies.
The methodology for implementing green initiatives includes:
- Design strategies for green IT equipment, green non-IT equipment like UPS, precision acs,
- Modular expansion of data centres and operations,
- Maintenance strategies such as:
- Tracking and reducing PUE,
- Containing cold isle in high density areas of server farm
- Turning off idle capacity devices,
- Increasing the temperate in server farms based on ASHRAE standards. This provides huge savings in power, by maintaining the temperature in data centres as per ASHRAE guidelines.
Sify is a member of green grid and has developed and implemented the green data centre policy. This is documented and rigorously followed. This governs each of our infrastructure development projects. The policy also aims at promoting various alternatives to save the environment and focuses on a number of facts that can be considered to increase power and cooling efficiency by reducing the heat generated in data centres. These have resulted in reduced costs of services and lower payback time for the equipment deployed.
The green factors were thoroughly implemented in our data centre at Noida.
For more details, please refer to www.noidatacentre.sify.com
Our business does not involve major water consumption and the resource is primarily used for the consumption and non-consumption purposes of our employees. As such, we do not affect any major water source in any of our significant locations of operations.
Apart from being used for the consumption and non consumption purposes of employees, water serves as a cooling agent for our data centres. Data centres generate lot of heat, and this needs to be contained by the use of air conditioners or other alternatives. To reduce our electricity consumption, chiller plants have been installed in two data centres, in Rabale and Noida. In these locations, water is used as an agent to contain the heat generated by the data centres.
The source of water for these data centres is presently ground water/water purchased from the authorities. We are implementing an RO Plant in Noida to treat hard water for consumption and the use of chillers data centre operations. Currently, there are no mechanisms to measure the amount of water that's being used in our locations. We are initiating actions to capture the consumption data for future reports.
Presently, we do not have mechanisms put in place to capture emission data and we are working to provide this data in our future reports. While constructing our new data centres, we will work on reducing emissions and carbon foot prints.
Lower Carbon Footprint:
The facility in Noida is designed to avoid environmental pollution. This is applicable for water, air, sound etc. No kind of waste materials, which may pollute the environment, is discharged to the surroundings.
We have adopted the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) guidelines prescribed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF). During the construction and operations phase, we conduct regular audits (every 6 months) and the findings are submitted to MOEF. Some of the measures implemented are:
- Creating greenery around the building wherever possible
- Rain water harvesting
- Recycling and reusing waste by using STP plants
- Using solar power for external lights
- Using low emission equipment
- Encouraging car pooling
We are in the process of capturing data for the calculation of emissions under Scope 1 and Scope 2 category of emissions. Therefore, the quantification of emissions data GhG wise emissions would be available in the future reports.
We have not witnessed any instance of non-monetary nature for non-compliance with environmental laws and regulations during the year 2013-14.
Supplier Assessment for Impacts on Environment and Society:
Vendors/Suppliers are one of our key stakeholders the quality of whom matters a lot with respect to delivery of finest services from our end. Therefore, a careful selection of vendors is being done to meet our goals of sustainability.
Every vendor selection process involves
- Verifying a checklist of guidelines which is drafted internally.
- Ensuring adherence of the guidelines by the vendors.
Background checks on vendors are also carried out to ensure that they have not indulged in any unfair trade practices. All our vendors are assessed for impacts on society.
The vendor registration form contains the adherence clause on all the social, labor, environmental, commercial and other laws applicable to the land. Any non-adherence shall be immediately brought to our notice and the respective contract would be terminated after taking into account the exigency of the business.
Environmental Grievance Mechanisms
There were no grievances about environmental impacts filed during the year 2013-14.