Aligned has matched the entire energy footprint of its data centers with purchases of renewable energy, the company said today. The announcement comes as enterprise IT customers and hyperscale operators sharpen their focus on the environmental impact of their data center operations.
Aligned says it is also seeing a customer payoff in its approach to energy efficiency, with multiple tenants taking advantage of an “expand on demand” strategy that allows them to deploy more IT capacity in the same data center footprint.
As part of an expanded sustainability program, Aligned is using a variety of options to match 100 percent of its IT load with renewable energy, including working with utility providers (like Arizona Public Service, which supports Aligned’s Phoenix data center campus) and procuring bundled Renewable Energy Credits. The company says its flexible renewable procurement strategy also allows it to adapt to specific customer requirements.
Aligned will be following the Future of Internet Power’s (FOIP) Corporate Colocation and Cloud Buyers’ Principles and provide documentation for customers of its renewable energy procurements. The Future of Internet Power outlines six principles to help companies reduce the carbon impact of their colocation space, including a requirement that providers offer access to cost-competitive renewable energy, thorough disclosure of how it is being sourced, and detailed information about power consumption.
Customers Demanding Clean Power
Sustainability has long been an emphasis for Aligned, which prioritizes efficiency and energy conservation in its wholesale and build-to-scale data center solutions. Recent headlines have brought climate risk to the fore, prompting customers to focus on eliminating fossil fuels from their IT footprint.
“Aligned is committed to powering our data center portfolio with renewable, clean energy and working with clients to achieve our shared carbon-reduction goals,” said Andrew Schaap, CEO of Aligned. “Our focus is to provide ultra-efficient, rapidly deployable and sustainable data center solutions that enable customers to scale easily and efficiently as their business grows, while supporting a clean energy future.”
The data center has become the front line in the technology industry’s push to address climate risk. As cloud computing platforms become some of the largest consumers of electricity, they are shifting to solar and wind to power their servers. Aligned is among a growing number of multi-tenant data center operators are procuring renewable power for its data centers, which has become table stakes in competing for hyperscale customers.
“It’s really important to our buyers and customers,” said Phill Lawson-Shanks, the CIO and Sustainability Committee Chair at Aligned. “It’s more than just a check mark now. It’s critical to their long term planning.”
A Holistic Approach to Sustainability
The data center industry’s adoption of renewable power is benefiting from the increased role of large investment funds, who bring new resources to deploying IT capacity at scale. Aligned is backed by Macquarie Infrastructure Partners, the giant global infrastructure fund.
“We are very fortunate that our parent Macquarie is one of the largest green energy producers on the planet,” said Lawson-Shanks.
Aligned says it is taking a holistic approach, applying its sustainability principles in its supply chain, data center design, construction and interior fit-out, and operations. These initiatives are guided by a Sustainability Committee comprised of leadership from all of Aligned’s business units, including Customer Experience, Design & Construction, Operations, Innovation and Technology, Finance, Audit and Compliance, and Branding.
With its focus on “smart infrastructure,” Aligned specializes in solving capacity management challenges through innovation in cooling and the supply chain, Its offering is positioned to appeal to technology-focused customers, especially growing Internet companies. Aligned operates data center campuses in Dallas, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Ashburn, Virginia.
The company’s cooling technology allows customers to add power capacity instead of more space, housing up to 50kW per cabinet in IT equipment. This ability to scale in place without having to reconfigure existing infrastructure is key to Aligned’s value proposition.
Schaap says that three customers took advantage of Aligned’s “Expand on Demand” program in 2019, demonstrating the value proposition driving the company’s approach.
Here’s how it works: Each Aligned data hall includes a cooling wall featuring vertical stacks of its Delta Cube cooling units, which are about 4 feet wide and house multiple fan coils, allowing them to cool workloads of up to 50 kW per cabinet. The wall also contains space that allows for additional rows of Delta Cube units to be installed, providing additional capacity within the data hall. This video illustrates how the system operates:
Aligned says the system uses considerable less energy than other data centers, and consumes up to 85 percent less water, with the ability to run waterless – an increasingly important capability as corporate sustainability programs expand to address water impact.
In October the company lined up a $495 million secured credit facility from investors led by Goldman Sachs, which will fund data center expansions across Aligned’s footprint. The backing of equity investors Macquarie and BlueMountain Capital Management provide resources to take advantage of future expansion opportunities.”
“We’re incredibly well capitalized and ready to grow,” said Schaap.