The die is cast! LCL leads the way as the first Belgian data centre to be certified for ISO 14001, the international standard for environmental management. Data centres, including both independent and in-house corporate data centres, consume up to 2.5% of all energy worldwide. A carefully implemented environmental policy is therefore extremely important.
"One year ago we decided to put LCL forward for ISO 14001 certification", explains Abdellah Mahlous, Operations Manager and Environmental Coordinator at LCL. "Numerous energy-saving measures and one environment audit later, we have achieved our goal! We are particularly proud of the fact we are the first data centre in Belgium to be certified for this environmental management standard."
"Credit is due to the entire team as all 12 staff-members worked very hard to make it happen. Congratulations to each and every one of you", added Laurens van Reijen, CEO of LCL.
What is ISO 14001?
ISO 14001 is an international standard for organisations that introduce an environmental management system (EMS). This standard defines the specific requirements on which an EMS must comply. The aim is to achieve continuous improvement by introducing a permanent cycle of planning, execution, evaluation, and updating. External auditors assess the procedures of a company on this basis, and check to make sure all of the environment conditions have been met. Only when everything is found to be in order, an ISO 14001 certificate is granted. Most companies applying for ISO 14001 certification run operations that involve a risk of environmental impact. LCL, however, focuses mainly on reducing its consumption of energy and is one of the forerunners in this respect.
Targeted environmental policy
"It is not as easy as you might think to achieve an ISO 14001 certificate. In order to pass the audit all your business processes have to comply with the Flemish environmental regulations (VLAREM). We called in an external consultant to help us develop and introduce an efficient environmental management system", Abdellah Mahlous explains.
What steps has LCL taken to reduce its energy consumption? "The action we have taken ranges from trying to eliminate wasteful use of paper to a purchasing policy for vehicles and installations based on environmental criteria. Also all our systems are maintained and inspected at regular intervals. The key is to keep looking for innovative ways to reduce environmental impact and energy consumption. Every time you buy new equipment, such as a fire suppression system, you try to choose the system that uses the gas with the least environmental impact", he continued.
"An important part of managing energy consumption is regular measurement of electricity consumption, as well as how often pumps and compressors are running. Where possible, system settings are fine-tuned to consume less power. In addition, the creation of a cold corridor is also very important, whereby cold air is separated from warm air in order to reduce the volume that has to be cooled", adds Laurens van Reijen, CEO of LCL.
"In fact, LCL only uses 100% green energy, an extra initiative we took that goes even further than the certification requirements. Something our clients appreciate tremendously."
The energy efficiency of a company is measured and expressed in terms of "Power Usage Efficiency" (PUE). PUE is determined by dividing the amount of Total Facility Energy by the consumption of IT Equipment Energy (servers, storage, network). The closer this result approaches 1, the more efficient. "Most SME's must be satisfied with a PUE rating of 3. LCL has a much better rating. If every server of every company was relocated to an external data centre with the same PUE rating as ours, this would have a positive effect on the environment", according to Laurens van Reijen.
"All our systems are maintained and inspected at regular intervals. This certificate proves that we can offer our customers operational reliability. In addition, this quality label will help us to broaden our client portfolio. Larger companies, and in particular government organisations, often include ISO 14001 certification as a compulsory requirement in contract tendering procedures", concluded Mahlous.