01/31/2022 | by Sarah Borchersen-Keto

The data center sector is playing a significant role in getting utilities to increase the use of renewables across the electricity grid and bring about the larger goal of a 90% carbon-free electricity system by 2030, according to Breana Wheeler, director of operations at BREEAM USA.

Speaking on the REIT Report on Jan. 24, Wheeler noted that the focus on decarbonizing the grid is “really critical, because while reducing energy consumption is important, data centers specifically will always face significant challenges to either build enough renewables to cover total usage or build close enough to an abundant supply of renewable energy.”

Wheeler also discussed how BREEAM’s relationship with the data center sector has developed over the years, whether the general perception of data center energy consumption fits the reality, and how the data center sector is having a positive knock-on effect in terms of making other industry sectors improve their sustainability performance.

Elsewhere, Wheeler commented on the particular challenges data centers face from their tenants in terms of achieving their overall sustainability goals, and where the next wave of sustainability innovation for data centers is likely to occur and the role BREEAM can play in achieving that.