As corporate computing requirements grow steadily and consumer-focused IT services continue their rapid expansion, the demand for data center capacity continues to rise. The rapid adoption of IT use in the emerging economies is also providing a powerful engine for the growth of data center capacity. In turn, the growth in demand is further increasing these facilities’ energy footprint. Today’s data center industry consumes around 1.5 percent of the world’s energy. Data center operators are struggling to keep energy demand in check while continuing to grow their capacity. The need to reduce energy consumption is being driven by a diverse set of factors that includes the rising price of electricity, greenhouse gas emissions, information technology improvements, cloud computing, virtualization, large advances in cooling techniques, and significant improvements in monitoring and management tool suites.

According to a new report from Pike Research, the widespread adoption of energy efficient data center technologies and best practices could significantly limit the growth of emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from data centers over the next several years. If current trends continue, GHG emissions from data centers are expected to total 1,326 million tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent; green data center best practices could reduce that total to 1,156 tons, a difference of 13 percent compared to the business-as-usual trend, according to the cleantech market intelligence firm’s analysis.

“The drive toward green data centers is a response to business requirements to reduce costs across the company as well as a response to environmental concerns,” says Eric Woods, research director. “Within the data center environment, that translates to a mandate to reduce energy consumption, which in turn is driving innovation. Data center operators are exploring new ideas related to business models, facility construction, layout and design, air flow dynamics, new technology, and monitoring and management tools.”

Pike Research forecasts that the green data center will offer an annual market opportunity that exceeds $45 billion worldwide by 2016. The Asia Pacific region is projected to have the highest revenue growth through 2016, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of just under 30 percent between 2011 and 2016. Double-digit revenue growth is also projected for Europe and North America (CAGRs of almost 27 percent for both markets).

Pike Research’s report, "Green Data Centers," explores global green data center trends with regional forecasts for market size and opportunities through 2016. The report examines the impacts of global economic and political factors on regional data center growth, along with newly adopted developments in power and cooling infrastructure, servers, storage, and data center infrastructure management software tools across the industry. The research study profiles key industry players and their strategies for expansion and technology adoption. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm’s website.