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Scaleway plans to become the most environmentally efficient and transparent cloud worldwide


21 Oct 2020



Paris, October 19, 2020 - On the occasion of the EU Green Week, Scaleway, the fast-growing European public cloud services provider, launches a strategy to support an environmental transition and prepare the foundations of a new digital economy, thereby cementing its commitments to the environment and to society.

Scaleway has eco-designed, built and operates one of the most sustainable data centers in Europe, and is proud to offer its clients high environmental performance products. With its now six data centers in three regions (Paris, Amsterdam and Warsaw), Scaleway is consolidating its position as a major European public cloud committed to fighting climate change.

The digital sector is currently responsible for 2% of France’s[1] greenhouse gas emissions. If no action is taken, this figure could triple by 2040. While an awareness of the digital sector’s environmental impact has largely been reached in France, there is still a lack of awareness regarding the extent to which data centers need to make changes.

Globally, data centers are likely to consume around 205 terawatt-hours (TWh) (estimated in 2018[2]), or 1 percent of global electricity use. There is a rush on the part of many data centers, even those lauded for their efforts, to be labelled as energy efficient. Yet, this leads to dangerous practices which must disappear like the thoughtless waste of millions of cubic meters of drinking water in cooling towers to cool data centers, and wasting avoidably 30-40% of data center energy on cooling alone.

Scaleway innovates where sustainable actions count most - at the source.

“The environmental responsibility of this industry now needs to be focused on these mutually dependent pillars: the supply and intrinsic energy efficiency of the data center, and water usage and preservation. By making the right ethical, regulatory and technological choices, the benefits of global digitalization will not be outweighed by damaging ecological impacts. We are committed to dealing with the subject at the source by measuring all of our activities with a weighted indicator,” said Yann Lechelle, CEO, Scaleway.

Scaleway is determined to become the most efficient and most transparent cloud worldwide. Its commitments cover four key strategic areas:

Scaleway wants to take it further than the straightforward norms of an environmental strategy which include carbon-neutrality. So much more is possible, with common sense, forward-thinking policies and innovation. Scaleway takes this cloud to the next level and commits to implementing an environmentally efficient policy across the board by offering responsible products and services, and implementing proactive measures to optimize the impacts of its clients’ activities, too.

1. Control energy and water consumption with a weighted index that goes well beyond the simple PUE indicator

Scaleway is stepping up its ambition to drastically lower its environmental impact by 2025, in line with its strategies since the company’s creation. This commitment is compatible with the Paris Agreement’s aim to limit global warming to 2°C by 2050, and the European Commission’s Green Deal roadmap for 2030.

Even though Scaleway has already been powering its data centers with 100% renewable energy since 2017, mainly using hydropower[3], the company is actively working on its environmental policies and commits to banning all products which have a harmful impact on the ozone layer, create greenhouse gases and are toxic, as well as the use of Chlorodifluoromethane.

Scaleway sets itself an ambitious PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness[4]) objective of <1.15 for all new data centers built after 2018, and 1.3 for all previously constructed data centers. This is achieved through continued improvement to cooling systems (free cooling, natural cooling using outside air) and the modernization of primary infrastructure through the use of high energy efficiency equipment. Scaleway wants to go beyond this indicator and integrate water usage and efficiency into the equation.

New indicator for a weighted consumption: rDCE (Real Data Center Efficiency)

It is unacceptable that today, in 2020, we still omit water consumption from the equation when calculating a data center’s responsibility and efficiency. Thus, Scaleway's approach consists in combining the PUE and the WUE, to relate them to each other and to the actual use of each in data centers. The rDCE is measured in megawatt hours (MWh), and used to weight the PUE and the WUE measurements in relation to distributed uses, not in relation to the most efficient datacenter, which would be too easy and misleading. The average of the two is taken to calculate the real Data Center Efficiency.

This is how Scaleway defines the rDCE indicator, or real Data Center Efficiency:

rDCE = (ePUE + eWUE) 2 = (1,37 + 0,01) 2 = 0,69

The company is committed to publishing this metric for all data centers each year, with the goal of steadily lowering it through innovation and investment. Scaleway invites all industry players to join it in this radical transparency.

2. Advocating for water conservation and efficiency

The near-unwavering focus of the industry on energy performance has led to other key factors in environmental performance, such as water efficiency, being neglected. For Scaleway, its WUE (Water Usage Effectiveness) is a crucial indicator of its environmental impact. As the first cloud provider to bring the use of water in data centers to the conversation, Scaleway bans practices which consume high quantities of water and present health risks such as water cooling towers, and aims to have a WUE lower than 0.15 (market average at 1.8[5]) as of today.

3. Defending the circular economy and banning toxic products

Scaleway is committed to creating a restorative and regenerative circular economy with its partners, such as Loxy. This socially responsible company ensures 100% of its hardware components are reused and recycled. In this manner, Scaleway aims to extend the life cycle of its equipment to up to 10 years (a standard equipment life cycle is usually between three and five years[6]) through reuse and repair.

4. Raising awareness around transparency and empowering its clients with line-by-line usage and environmental impact on each invoice by 2021

Because Scaleway has always challenged the status quo, the company is working to expand its transparency policy and fully empower its clients with information: the company will include a line-by-line resource usage and will share the environmental impact (energy consumption, water consumption and carbon emission estimation) on each invoice by 2021, a first in the industry.

With this strategy, Scaleway reinforces its position as the cloud that makes sense. The provider calls on the industry to follow a more environmentally friendly model, especially with regard to banning water cooling towers and bringing more transparency to the market.

About Scaleway

Scaleway is the second-largest European  cloud  services  provider  supplying  a  range  of pioneering cloud infrastructure services for professionals. It offers the right combination of compute power and storage that is flexible, cost effective, reliable, secure and sustainably powered. It is the only cloud provider to offer private data center colocation and infrastructure with Scaleway Datacenter, dedicated servers with Scaleway Dedibox for maximum control and punch, and elastic public cloud services with its modern, S3-compatible Scaleway Elements ecosystem, including a rolling up-to-date Kubernetes and Terraform support. Scaleway’s offerings are based on some 20 years of expertise in developing and deploying dedicated servers and managing high-end innovative data centers. Scaleway is growing its reputation around the world and currently serves clients in over 160 countries. Scaleway has six data centers located in three regions: Paris (France), Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Warsaw (Poland). Its clients include Aternos, Vente-Privée (Veepee), and Le Monde.

To find out more:

[2] Masanet, Eric, Arman Shehabi, Nuoa Lei, Sarah Smith, and Jonathan Koomey. “Recalibrating Global Data Center Energy-Use Estimates.” Science 367, No. 6481 (2020): 984-986.

[3] Hydropower is electricity generated in hydroelectric power stations, through the force of water… It is the biggest source of renewable power worldwide.

[4]  This energy effectiveness indicator is commonly used to qualify data center energy efficiency. It was developed by the Green Grid Consortium, and PUE indicates the ratio between total energy consumed by a data center and its equipment (servers).

  • Commitments that go far beyond just energy effectiveness indicators.
  • Aiming to render the digital sector more efficient and resilient and going beyond the targets set by the EU 2030 Green Deal.
  • Raising awareness around transparency and empowering its clients with line by line usage and impact on each invoice by 2021.
    1. Controlling energy and water consumption with a weighted index that goes well beyond the simple PUE indicator
    2. Advocating for water conservation and efficiency
    3. Defending the circular economy
    4. Raising awareness around transparency and empowering its clients with line-by-line usage and environmental impact on each invoice by 2021