AI

Open Compute Project Foundation, iMasons collaborate

Towards a Sustainable and Scalable Digital Infrastructure for AI and HPC

Today, the Open Compute Project Foundation (OCP), the nonprofit organization bringing hyperscale innovations to all, and infrastructure Masons (iMasons), a nonprofit professional association of individuals connected and empowered to build a greater digital future for all, announce a new collaboration related to sustainability initiatives centered on the iMasons Climate Accord (ICA). By aligning the OCP Community’s ability to impact the data center supply chain and iMasons reach with the end user community, they will address one of the industry’s greatest challenges, creating sustainable and scalable digital infrastructure capable of meeting the requirements for AI and HPC from the data center to the edge. 

To start, this new alliance will focus on standardizing a taxonomy for supplier carbon disclosures related to data center materials and equipment, including a digital carbon label providing both calculated carbon levels and its corresponding methodology. This work effort is led by Google, Meta, Microsoft and Schneider Electric, and is critical for building a more sustainable industry as Scope 3 emissions comprise the vast majority of the carbon footprint of data centers. Almost all of those Scope 3 emissions are upstream and take the form of embodied carbon in the materials and equipment that go into building these facilities. In order to meet net-zero carbon goals, the industry needs to organize its supply chain to measure, report on, and draw down the embodied carbon of data centers.

“We are very pleased to build our relationship with iMasons, and the timing could not be better as the data center build-out to scale, driven by AI, is upon us. To better support the ecosystem and our community, it is clear to us at OCP that the current brute force method of building more and bigger data centers is not sustainable without behavior and technological shifts. Such shifts will start with proper standardized methods for measurement, allowing OCP’s data center facilities, building and equipment vendor members to adjust their products and end-users to make sustainability part of their buying decision,” said George Tchaparian, CEO at the Open Compute Project Foundation.

There are many opportunities to create complementary standardizations to carbon disclosure, including metrics for measuring energy consumption, water usage and heat reuse. Other efforts can explore the use of alternate low-carbon concrete and steel, and building materials such as Mass Timber. Moving forward, we are prioritizing actions with the greatest potential for long-term impact while remaining adaptable to changing circumstances and emerging opportunities.

“Achieving lasting change requires a long-term perspective that frames and sharpens our short-term actions. We are excited to collaborate with the OCP to compound our impact on digital infrastructure globally. This involves addressing carbon accounting, measurement and tracking to ensure our efforts cover the entire ecosystem, and continuously build upon these foundations for a meaningful advancement of long-term sustainability goals,” said Dean Nelson, Founder and Chairman Infrastructure Masons & iMasons Climate Accord Governing Body Member.

Critical to the success of this alliance is the well-established multi-vendor data center supply chain provided by the OCP vendor member community. Upon delivering an open framework and set of best practices and standardizations, the OCP vendor members typically move rapidly to adopt and align their products accordingly. When these enhanced products are then produced with full carbon disclosure information for showcase in the OCP Marketplace, further stimulating end-user demand for products that comply.

 “This collaborative initiative between iMasons and OCP, aimed at tackling carbon transparency in digital infrastructure, marks a pivotal moment in advancing sustainability within our sector. By leveraging our extensive industry network and community-driven ethos, alongside OCP’s dedication to open innovation and community-led standardizations, we are primed for transformative and positive changes to best serve the future of our work and communities,” said Miranda Gardiner, Executive Director iMasons Climate Accord.

“Sustainability is both a responsibility and opportunity for the digital infrastructure industry to take ownership of its environmental impact and drive positive change. The alliance established between iMasons and OCP is a good example of how the industry needs to rally to meet the challenges of building tomorrow’s AI capable data centers. Together the OCP and iMasons have the opportunity to inspire and empower industry stakeholders to integrate carbon reductions into their overall corporate strategies and operations, by steadily advancing better decision-making and accountability across the industry,” said Ashish Nadkarni, GVP/GM, Worldwide Infrastructure Research at IDC.

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