Podcast: Digital detox – rethinking data centre design.


Listen to episode 20 now.

The Exploration podcast is a place for curiosity, creative thinking and conversation. Each episode, join us as we welcome a variety of guests to discuss the big topics shaping society, planet, and the built environment.

You can find us on iTunes by searching Hoare Lea.

In episode 20…

A digital detox is a common new year’s resolution, and the planet needs one on an industrial scale – our everyday internet actions contributing considerably to the climate emergency.

ICT’s emissions, globally, are between 2.1 and 3.9 percent… which doesn’t sound like a lot but it’s comparable to the aviation industry.

While the huge shift to the virtual plane feels like a good thing – a Zoom meeting is less environmentally harmful than travelling 200 miles to a colleague’s office – it’s all relative. Data centres, which house computer systems and process our digital doings, are responsible for major emissions. At the same time, the pandemic highlighted our need for digital connection, so what can we do to reduce the repercussions? Design differently.

With our sector lead Anders Eklund, the University of Lancaster’s Professor Adrian Friday and Dr Kelly Widdicks discuss their paper assessing carbon accounting in ICT. Together they talk healthier practices, minimising consumer impact, corporate responsibility and the good news story around energy-harnessing ideas in data centre design.

ICT is changing how we do things as a society, it is transformative and it should be helping us manage climate change.