Looking to get into the sustainable technology arena? Consider investing in the green data center market, which is projected to increase from $3.82 billion in the U.S. today to $13.81 billion in 2015. By the same year, energy efficient data centers will comprise 28% of the total data center market. The information comes courtesy of Environmental Leader Insights, which in the past has also provided projections for the green building industry.
The massive growth in green data centers makes sense. Data centers represent 3% of the total energy use in the U.S, and on average they operate at only 4% utilization at any given time. The problem is even bigger on a global scale, where 4.75 million operating servers run without being actively used and suck up $3.7 billion in energy costs.
Data center use is only projected to grow as we become more reliant on cloud computing. According to EL Insights, by 2020, data centers and telecom infrastructure that fuel our cloud computing habits will require nearly 2 billion kilowatt hours of energy (compared to 623 million today). Any by 2020, server farms and data centers will produce a whopping 257 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.
All of this combines to make an atmosphere ripe for change. We're already seeing it happen—GE recently invested in SynapSense's green data center technology, the Department of Energy shelled out $47 million for data center projects, and Metropolitan Community Collegein Omaha, Nebraska now offers a 2-year associate's degree in green data center management. As energy costs climb, don't be surprised if more and more of these types of stories start to pop up.