Singapore: Singapore's IMDA establishes tropical data facility sustainability benchmark

Jun 09, 2023 | Posted by Abdul-Rahman Oladimeji

Singapore has introduced a standard for maximizing the energy efficacy of data centers (DCs) in tropical regions. The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) standard recommends operating centers at higher temperatures to save energy on cooling. Dr. Janil Puthucheary, Singapore's Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information, announced at Asia Tech x Singapore 2023's ATxEnterprise. Digital Realty has tested what is expected in its Singapore assets. 

The announcement follows extensive research on tropical data centers funded by the IMDA. In 2016, IMDA funded a Tropical Data Center test, followed by the 2017 announcement of a plan with Huawei and Keppel to put together plans for high-rise data centers. There was very little public outflow from these studies, but in 2021, the IMDA and Facebook unveiled a $17 million Sustainable Tropical Data Centre Testbed (STDCT) to evaluate novel cooling methods at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

The IMDA declaration lacks specifics beyond its recommendation that data centers in humid climates should be operated at higher temperatures than the widely accepted standard of 22°C or lower. According to the IMDA, there were previously no recommendations on increasing operational temperatures in a warmer, humid climate; its new benchmark will help provide a roadmap to reach 26°C and higher progressively. It was claimed that every 1°C increase in the operational temperature of a data center could save anywhere from two to five percent of data center cooling power or up to two percent of total energy.

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