03/05/2021 | by Sarah Borchersen-Keto

The data center industry holds a leadership position on climate change issues as technological advances create greater efficiencies while economies of scale result in a lower energy profile, according to Kyle Myers, senior director of environmental health, safety, and sustainability at CyrusOne, Inc. (Nasdaq: CONE).

Speaking on the REIT Report, Myers pointed to estimates that 1-3% of the entire power consumed on earth is consumed within data centers.

CyrusOne has set a goal of reaching zero carbon emissions by 2040 across the organization. Myers said innovation on the design side is “super important,” while CyrusOne is also looking at existing efficiencies across the portfolio, such as infrastructure and operational improvements.

Myers noted that a key to achieving carbon neutrality is renewable energy and the company has set a goal to be 100% renewable. “We’re going to have to do that to remain cost competitive across the portfolio to hit the 2040 target,” he said.

In European markets, renewable energy is an obvious choice, Myers said. In the United States, meanwhile, it’s easier to secure renewable energy from deregulated markets like Texas, he added. Coastal areas are more challenging because specific regulations make renewable energy expensive, or else it’s just not as available.

CyrusOne is also focused on improving conditions in high-stress environmental areas.

“We’ve made a very strategic decision from a sustainability perspective, as well as from an operations perspective , to use cooling technology that does not consume water,” Myers said.

Myers also discussed new areas of sustainability focus, including low-carbon concrete, investments in green hydrogen, internal carbon taxes, and hybrid cooling systems.