St Andrews green data centre wins award

The Data Centre Ops Group L-R: Alan Sumner, Project Coordinator, Steve Watt, Chief Information Officer, John Booth (Assessor & Technical Lead, CEEDA), Ian McDonald, Network and Infrastructure Team Leader, David Stutchfield, Sustainability Manager, Dean Drew, Associate Chief Information Officer

The Data Centre Ops Group L-R: Alan Sumner, Project Coordinator, Steve Watt, Chief Information Officer, John Booth (Assessor & Technical Lead, CEEDA), Ian McDonald, Network and Infrastructure Team Leader, David Stutchfield, Sustainability Manager, Dean Drew, Associate Chief Information Officer

A green-energy data centre at the University of St Andrews has, for the third time, achieved the highest level of award for its performance and environmental design. 

Following a rigorous re-assessment process this summer the University has retained the GOLD award under the Certified Energy Efficient Datacenter Award (CEEDA) Scheme.

Built at a cost of £2.4 million, the data centre was opened in 2011, with the aims of carbon neutrality for energy supply, reducing energy usage and costs, and providing an efficient, reliable and scalable facility.

The data centre uses only energy from renewable sources and the energy efficient design saves the University between £65,000 and £75,000 per year in electricity costs.

The data centre has brought significant benefits through significantly improved ICT system availability in a safe and secure environment.

Steve Watt, Chief Information Officer at the University of St Andrews, said: “We are absolutely delighted to achieve the CEEDA Gold standard again. We take our corporate social responsibility very seriously and developing an energy efficient data centre is part of this.

“We continue to be the only university in the world with this award, which is a very positive reflection on the skills, expertise and dedication of our IT Services and Estates colleagues.”

Nick Morris, Head of Product and Strategy, CEEDA at DataCenter Dynamics, said: “From the very start, the design of the data centre fully integrated fundamental principles of scalable energy efficiency, with an eye on significant anticipated service growth.

“What is truly outstanding is that the initial approach taken, and improvements put in place year on year, have matched evolving best practice – which is a testament to the flexibility of the design and the ability of the data centre operations team.”

St Andrews was the first UK public sector organisation to achieve a Gold Award from the British Computer Society under the CEEDA scheme, an international assessment based awards programme which recognises a commitment to energy efficiency and the reduction of carbon emissions.

A joint project by the University’s IT Services and Estates units, the centre had to adhere to strict planning and noise restrictions.

It is fitted with a special acoustic shield and was designed with an old-style slate roof to blend in with its historic surroundings.