An example of Carbon Reporting for Data Centers, HSBC

Yesterday, I blogged on The Green Grid CUE metric.

Will CUE be as popular as PUE? Don't think so

Today the Green Grid announced the CUE metric, Carbon Usage Effectiveness metric to help measure the carbon impact of IT equipment.

CUE is defined as


The carbon emissions divided by your IT load. Provides a ratio of kg/CO2/kWHr where the best is 0.  Note you can be near zero with hydroelectric or nuclear power sourcing.

Later in the day I had a chance to run into Christian Belady and clarified that I meant no disrespect to the idea of CUE as he was the editor for the document.  I explained most of what I saw people say out there was reporting, but little discussion or analysis.  Getting people to debate a topic is what gets the idea to spread.  Christian is a forward thinker and said he is always open for debate, and took no offense to my blog post.

To illustrate the point of how some companies are reporting their data center carbon footprint, check out HSBC’s environmental site.

Footprint management

The changing size and shape of a corporation is an ongoing challenge for those responsible for measuring and managing its environmental footprint. There a number of different ways to set a boundary around which parts of the organisation are included in target-setting and monitoring. At HSBC, our aim is to communicate our progress transparently, and, in response to stakeholder feedback, we updated our approach to setting and reporting environmental targets in 2009.

Data Centre’s are called out separately.

What about data centres?

Until 2009, data centres had not been subject to targets to reduce carbon emissions. We now have targets to improve the energy efficiency of our eight largest Group data centres by between 2 per cent and 8 per cent in 2010.

HSBC is in the process of building new highly efficient data centres, built to international green building standards such as BREEAM and LEED. We have chosen to separate data centres from the targets for the rest of our buildings because we are working through a programme of consolidating these facilities. This means that sometimes during a handover period, two are operating at once, or data centre operations are moving from one country to another, which can skew the data.

And hereee is the data center power footprint.

Energy use in data centres

The Green Grid’s CUE and WUE are reporting per Kwhr.  But, many are reporting on a per full time employee.

Carbon emissions

Our target is to reduce carbon emissions per FTE by 6 per cent between 2008 and 2011.

Carbon emissions

Water use

Our target is to reduce water use per FTE by 11 per cent between 2008 and 2011.

Water use

Thanks to some helpful people in the financial sector they have been pointing me to where various companies are reporting the data center impacts.

I am starting to believe the financial sector may the group who leads the rest of the industry in environmental/sustainability reporting.