Reducing Energy Consumption Challenging for Data Center REITs, Sustainability Executive Says

Aaron Binkley, director of sustainability at Digital Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE: DLR), joined REIT.com for a video interview at NAREIT’s 2015 Leader in the Light Working Forum in Reston, Va.

Digital Realty owns more than 130 data center locations globally.

In the interview, Binkley addressed the unique sustainability challenges facing the data center sector.

He noted that in 2014, Digital Realty became one of the first data center operators to join the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge, which supports commercial and industrial building owners by providing technical assistance and proven solutions to energy efficiency.

Binkley said a particular challenge of joining the program was the commitment not only to reduce energy consumption across the portfolio, but to do so in an environment with a high level of mission-critical customer operations.

“Being able to ensure, and in some cases even enhance, customer operational reliability and resiliency while also reducing energy use is a particular challenge and opportunity that we have,” Binkley said.

Binkley also highlighted a new program that the company rolled out earlier this month to address the growing demand from customers for clean energy.

Under the Clean Start Program, clients that sign a qualifying new lease will automatically receive renewable energy certificates commensurate with the electricity consumed during the first year of the lease.

“We think it will start to change the dialogue in the data center industry about energy supply,” Binkley noted.

Binkley also said the increasing use of new analytics tools to manage energy use and consumption means that the real estate industry has a “critical role to play as a provider of utility grid stability.”