Energy efficient, renewable, sustainable, carbon neutral, and of course the catch-all, going green — all make for great sound bites, but how do we really quantify how well we are doing in the age of gigawatt scale data centers? While the power usage effectiveness (PUE) metric from The Green Grid debuted in 2007 as a relatively simple way to quantify the facility site energy efficiency, it was only the first step. However, the water usage effectiveness (WUE) and carbon usage effectiveness (CUE) sustainability metrics made data centers look beyond the walls of the facility to the source of the energy generation, and then we all discovered what Kermit the Frog knew when he sang, “It’s Not Easy Being Green.”
Nonetheless, the hyperscale giants claim they are all committed to the same target of using 100% renewable energy. These claims were examined in detail by the 2017 Greenpeace report, “Clicking Clean,” located at here.