Since 2011, we have invested more than $130 million in energy efficiency upgrades, retrofits and improvements, with millions of dollars more in execution as part of our ongoing commitment to reduce energy consumption within our data centers. For example, in 2020 alone we invested over $5 million in implementing cold and hot air containment, which will yield significant improvement in energy efficiency and cost reductions. For Equinix, maximizing energy savings equals maximizing our return on investment.
Demand reduction from energy efficiency activities since 2011 is roughly 32,000 kW annually including 2,600 kW from projects completed in 2020. This is roughly equivalent to avoiding 640,000 metric tons in carbon emissions around the world since 2011. To put that into perspective, it would be the same amount of carbon that 138,000 cars emit driving 1.5 billion miles over the course of a year (Source: U.S. EPA GHG equivalency calculator).
640,000 metric tons
In 2020, Equinix launched the Energy Efficiency Center of Excellence (EE CoE) to foster continuous innovation, upgrades in infrastructure and maximization of the impact of key sustainable technologies across our data center portfolio. The global EE CoE takes a long-term, uniform approach to create efficiencies in supporting local operations teams to achieve ambitious PUE targets within our IBXs.
This is an engineering-driven program that seeks to channel investment and capture the opportunities that arise during business-as-usual plant replacement and other infrastructure upgrade projects. The EE CoE has made quick progress; in 2020, the program was rolled out to 12 pilot sites and 28 more sites are targeted in 2021. The program includes distributed information packages to local teams and customers and facilitated a cost-effective global procurement agreement for blanking panels and the installation of cold and hot aisle containment to maximize the separation of supply and return air. The COE also initiated an energy efficiency digital knowledgebase to facilitate information sharing, among other successes. Future work will include feasibility studies to test new technology opportunity inside our data centers.
Energy Efficiency Center of Excellence Approach
At Equinix, we continually seek to improve the PUE of our IBX data centers. We design for aggressive regional targets for all new sites and expansions and measure the PUE of all our data centers globally.
PUE helps track power usage trends in an individual facility over time and measures and spotlights the effects of different design and operational decisions. The closer to “1” that the PUE is, the more energy efficient the building is in delivering its services.
In our 2020 Green Finance Framework, we committed to investing in buildings with a design average annual PUE threshold of 1.45 or better, which exceeds industry benchmarks.
Our current PUE goals range from 1.20-1.40 and represent an average incremental efficiency gain of 8-10%. Depending on location and climate, many new sites are designed to below 1.20 at full load. We aim to achieve our PUE goals through a combination of energy efficiency investments, best practices and operational discipline. By maximizing environmental and ambient conditions where possible, we expect to lower our PUE numbers even more. Since 2015, Equinix has reduced its annualized average global PUE from 1.62 to 1.51, even as we have expanded our portfolio.