31 March 2011 - Speech by RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore at the Green Data Centre Forum, SMU Conference Hall 1

Speech by RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore at the Green Data Centre Forum, 31 March 2011, 9:10am at SMU Conference Hall 1

RADM(NS) Tan Kai Hoe,
Deputy Chief Executive,
SPRING Singapore Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. Good Morning. A very warm welcome to everyone here at The Green Data Centre Forum.


2. In the world today, data centres are critical in supporting the development and operations of nearly every sector of the economy. Recent developments such as the increasingly pervasive use of infocomm services and the rise of social media have brought about a massive increase in content and data. These developments have driven a significant growth in data centre facilities.

3. In Singapore, we saw three large data centre deployments in the past year alone: Singtel's 150,000 square feet data centre space in Kim Chuan Telecommunications Centre 2 (KCTC2)1; Tata Communications'2 66,000 square feet data centre space at Tai Seng Industrial Estate; and Digital Realty Trust's 370,000 square feet data centre facility at Jurong International Business Park3. The demand for data centre services in Singapore will continue to grow. The total commercial data centre space in Singapore is forecast by BroadGroup4 to grow from 2.4 million square feet in 2010 to 3.6 million square feet in 2015.

Data Centre Energy Efficiency

4. Data centres are contributors to the carbon footprint given their heavy usage of energy. According to OECD5, data centres and network equipment account for almost 32% of the entire ICT sector's energy and carbon footprint. To put it in another perspective, the top 10 largest data centres in Singapore consumed energy equivalent to 130,000 households6, which is more than 10% of all households in Singapore.

5. The rising cost of energy is a key challenge for many data centre operators as their energy bill makes up a significant portion of their operating budget. Gartner has estimated that energy-related costs account for approximately 12% of overall data centre expenditure7 and is the fastest rising cost item in the data centre.

6. Today, much of the energy going into data centres is lost to cooling systems, power supplies and inefficient servers. The industry norm is that IT equipment utilises only 30% of the total energy consumed by a data centre. The remaining 70% is taken up by cooling, electrical and other loads. This usage scenario presents significant opportunities for data centres to reduce their energy consumption and operating costs, through implementing green practices in both the IT and non-IT domains.

7. Many innovations can be leveraged upon to improve the energy efficiency of servers, network equipment and infrastructure, as well as optimise the overall efficiency of the data centres. For example, virtualisation technology can drastically reduce the number of physical servers in a data centre. This decreases energy consumption and waste heat, and consequently the amount of cooling equipment required. Another emerging innovation is exploring the use of outside air cooling in tropical regions to reduce cooling energy consumption. It is now being investigated in some parts of the United States and in the Middle East.

8. I would like now to take this opportunity to elaborate on IDA's initiatives in enabling greater energy efficiency and environmental sustainability in Singapore data centres.

IDA's Green Data Centre Initiatives

Establishing a Common Yardstick

9. IDA, together with the Information Technology Standards Committee (ITSC) formed a Working Group to develop a Singapore Standard for Green Data Centres. Comprising representatives from data centre operators, consultants, equipment vendors, energy services companies and government agencies, the Working Group looked into establishing a standard to help data centre operators assess their energy performance and improve on energy efficiency.

10. Today, I am pleased to say that the Singapore Standard for "Green Data Centres: Energy and Environmental Management Systems" or the SS 564 for short has been developed and published. I would like to applaud the ITSC Green Data Centre Standards Working Group for their excellent work and dedication in successfully completing the development and implementation of this important Singapore Standard.

11. The SS 564 adopted a holistic approach. It is a world's first in integrating energy and environment management system together with performance metrics and recommended best practices. It is a certifiable standard that will help data centre operators to improve their overall energy and environmental performance and increase their competitive edge.

12. Certification to SS 564 provides many tangible benefits. Certified Green Data Centres can gain recognition and credibility from their clients and industry partners with their good energy and environment management practices. This will not only open up market opportunities for these companies but also assist them to identify gaps and areas for improvements in the energy efficiency of their data centres. Finally, it can result in significant reduction of the companies' overall operating costs and help them do their part in reducing the carbon footprint.

13. In this respect, I congratulate the seven data centres that have achieved a significant milestone, in getting themselves certified to the Singapore Standard, SS 564.

14. To complement the work in the Green Data Centre Standard, IDA has collaborated with National Environment Agency to initiate a Data Centre Baseline study involving 20 data centres. The study will provide a greater insight into the energy profile of our data centres and it is due to be completed by end 2011. The participating data centres include commercial data centre operators, private enterprises and public sector facilities.

Raising Efficiency Through Rating and Recognition

15. Besides developing the Green Data Centre Standard, SS 564, which addresses the issue of "How can my data centre go green", we also need to understand "How green is my data centre".

16. To this end, IDA together with the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) is developing a new Green Mark category known as the "Green Mark for Data Centres". It will cover performance efficiency in areas such as energy, water and the environment. As data centres have more extensive ICT equipment, electrical systems and cooling requirements, emphasis will be placed on their efficient deployment, usage and management.

17. This rating system will be ready for piloting in the second half of this year. Through such a rating system, we want to encourage more data centres to improve their performance efficiency and publicly recognise their efforts in doing so.

Fostering Innovation

18. Besides setting standards and encouraging data centres to better their performance, IDA is issuing an Innovation Challenge to foster innovation and deployment of Green Data Centre technologies.

19. Some of the recognised barriers to Green Data Centre adoption in Singapore include risk aversion of data centre operators and the lack of awareness of new technologies. The Green Data Centre Innovation Challenge Call-for-Collaboration encourages data centre operators to partner with technology and solution providers to pilot solutions that will significantly improve data centre energy efficiency.

20. Through the pilots, data centre operators will better understand and assess various technologies and their business viability. We believe that the piloting of new technologies and processes is a good way to encourage more data centre operators to implement new and innovative technologies.


21. In closing, I encourage our data centre industry to start embarking on a green journey through the Green Data Centre initiatives.

22. Once again, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate ITSC on its excellent work in developing the SS 564. I also wish to thank SPRING Singapore for co-organising this Green Data Centre Forum with IDA, as well as all of our partners from both the public and private sectors for their strong support and contribution in our Green Data Centre journey.

23. I wish all of you a fruitful and informative forum. Thank you.

Note to Editor:

1 Singtel's Green Data Centre

2 Tata Communications opens data exchange centre in Singapore

3 Digital Realty Trust's Singapore Data Centre http://datacenters.digitalrealtytrust.com/LocatorDetails?id=a028000000D78mdAAB

4 Data Centres South East Asia

5 Greener and Smarter ICTs, the Environment and Climate Change (Sep 2010) http://www.oecd.org/document/40/0,3343,en_21571361_45683854_45982952_1_1_1_1,00.html

6 Source: ITSC Working Group on Green Data Centre Standards

7 Gartner Says Energy-Related Costs Account for Approximately 12 Percent of Overall Data Centre Expenditures http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1442113

Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023