Data centres serve as the backbone of our increasingly digital and interconnected world. They are pivotal for the efficient functioning of businesses, governments, schools, hospitals, and emergency services.
They house the servers, networking equipment, and storage systems that power cloud computing, internet services, social media platforms, e-commerce, online banking, scientific research, machine learning and artificial intelligence. Additionally, they play a crucial role in disaster recovery and business continuity, safeguarding valuable information from potential disruptions or data loss.
We believe that means being a good corporate citizen, focusing on efficient use of energy, community involvement, development and impact, and actively delivering societal value.
Data centres are essential infrastructure, yet they consume a great deal of energy. To be environmentally sustainable, data centre operators must:
Data centres are enablers of renewable energy. Their 24/7 demand profile means that there is a customer for wind and solar energy whenever it is being generated – and with an always-on demand for power, investment in renewable generation makes business sense.
As long as the grid infrastructure is in place to transport the power from the point of generation to the point of consumption (the data centre) and the planning permission framework for renewable generation infrastructure is fit for purpose, data centres can fulfil their role and be part of the drive to net zero.
Under the broad umbrella of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and using the real estate Principles of Responsible Investment (PRI) for guidance, Echelon recognises that sustainability comprises distinct areas of focus and each requiring investment for a business to be truly sustainable.
At a site level, Echelon employs a mixture of best and typical Industry practice during the design and construction phases of its facilities. These include energy efficient equipment, rainwater harvesting, and roof-mounted renewables.
The goal of Echelon Data Centres is to provide essential data centre infrastructure sustainably and ethically. We recognise our responsibilities to the people and partners we work with, to the communities where we operate, and to the planet we all share.
In October 2022, Echelon announced a €1.5m sponsorship of Wicklow GAA, to enhance all aspects of GAA development and continue to grow participation levels within the county. The GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) is an amateur sporting and cultural organisation which promotes participation in traditional Irish sports such as Gaelic football, hurling, and camogie. With more than 2,100 clubs and 300,000 players of all ages and abilities, the GAA is at the heart of every community in Ireland.
The aim of the 5-year partnership is to enable Wicklow GAA teams across all age groups to compete at the highest possible level. As Niall Molloy, CEO, underlining the importance of sustainability and investment in local communities, stated at the launch:
“Echelon is building two data centre facilities in Wicklow that will provide high quality jobs, drive the digital economy, and be a template for sustainable modern data centre development throughout Europe. We understand the responsibilities that come with that to support the people where we operate.”
In 2023, Echelon announced a sponsorship deal with Arklow Rugby Club in Co. Wicklow. The club mirrors Echelon’s equality values and boasts a significant female membership of 40%, with a vibrant level of participation across all age ranges. As Ian Gavigan, Arklow RFC Chairman, said “Echelon is a perfect partner for Arklow RFC, in that they recognise, as we do, the need to support and develop people in the community driving participation in team sports.”
In addition to the annual Transition Year (TY) programme, where a group of second level students are introduced to the workplace and the Data Centre business, Echelon will be doubling the size of its existing internship programme from the Summer of 2024. This programme will provide work placement to students from the communities in which Echelon sites are located, enabling those students to gain valuable work experience in their chosen area of study. With obvious benefits to the students individually, the TY and Internship programmes also combine to provide a pathway towards a career in the Data Centre industry.
As part of its social engagement, all Echelon employees dedicate two volunteering days per annum to hands-on activities supporting the communities in which Echelon sites are located. A number of volunteering initiatives are currently being investigated in conjunction with existing local support groups, with a focus on technology and sustainability-based opportunities.
Combining the educational and environmental themes above, Echelon will be rolling out a Solar Communities programme to support increased development of renewables for schools and other deserving community-focused organisations. This will allow them to reduce their carbon footprint by giving them the opportunity to have a state-of-the-art 11KW solar panel system installed at no cost. Engagement with associated partners is ongoing with the initiative targeted for launch during 2024.
Alongside its obvious environmental benefits, with biodiversity being another area of focus, Echelon is investigating options for reforestation of lands in Co. Wicklow.
Echelon is committed to the highest standards as regards corporate governance and recognises its responsibility in influencing others within the supply chain and construction community towards similar standards.
ESG clauses (including, anti-bribery & money laundering as well as anti-slavery and inclusion & diversity) are being factored into agreements with consultants, contractors as well as supply-chain vendors as standard.
Echelon is rolling out a programme to achieve ISO 27001 for information security across its sites. To that end, following a defined programme of work in 2023, LCY10 (London) achieved 27001 certification, with DUB10 next to be certified.
Echelon aims to achieve ISO 45001 certification (Health & Safety) across the enterprise. With a working team across the portfolio of Echelon sites, as well as head office, certification is expected to be accomplished in Q1 ’24.
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