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Blog Post was written by Mark Kaloudis, Product Line Director at Schneider Electric Energy & Sustainability Services. 

By 2025, data centers are expected to consume about one-fifth of the world's electrical power. Between running IT infrastructure, cooling, power backup, and general maintenance, data centers require a lot of energy. However, as an IT administrator, you can take steps to increase infrastructure sustainability, especially as the number of small data centers multiplies at edge computing sites.

One step involves updating your uninterruptible power supply (UPS) fleet with devices designed for greater efficiency and less maintenance. Another step is implementing an infrastructure monitoring strategy focused on minimizing on-site maintenance and troubleshooting.

More efficient UPSs

The amount of energy consumed by a single UPS device may seem insubstantial. It amounts to roughly 1% of the total power consumed at a data center or edge computing site. However, let's say you're a bank with 100 branches or a retailer running 1,000 stores or more. Each of those locations is supported by an edge site containing a UPS. When multiplied by all those locations, that 1% adds up to a lot.

Therefore, you'd want to deploy the most efficient UPSs available. A new breed of UPS with innovative technologies helps you meet that goal in several ways. First, these devices use wide-bandgap semiconductors that enable operation at a higher voltage and higher frequency than possible with traditional semiconductors. This results in fewer power losses, which translates to more powerful and energy-efficient devices. The outcome is a lower electric bill.

Another benefit of the new UPS technology is the use of lithium-ion batteries that last up to 10 years, compared to three to five years for valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA) batteries. As such, the units need to be replaced less frequently. And that means using less power for manufacturing and less fuel in transporting the units, which are smaller and lighter, taking up less space in trucks. Disposal costs at the end of life for the units also decrease. Anything that helps reduce carbon emissions is a plus. To further understand the differences between VRLA and lithium-ion battery life cycles and how that impacts sustainability efforts, check out this recent blog post.

Real-time monitoring and management for edge computing sites

Newer UPSs also help achieve sustainability goals at the edge through remote monitoring and management. Connectivity enables the capture of data for real-time monitoring and management and is enterprise management system compatible – letting you make device information available to your monitoring and management platform or third-party Enterprise Network Management System. This capability helps reduce the need for truck rolls for maintenance and troubleshooting.

For one thing, you can reboot attached loads. And you don't need to dispatch someone to a site to check on battery status because you can remotely monitor battery health and performance. Data collected from the batteries allows you to accurately estimate when a battery will need replacement instead of going on-site to check.

When you are running hundreds or thousands of sites, this translates to spending a lot less on fuel and travel costs. And when a technician shows up with a replacement battery, you can be confident it's the right time for a replacement.

Discover a more sustainable kind of UPS

Everyone in an organization – and society itself – has a responsibility to work toward sustainability goals. Reducing power consumption at data centers and the edge isn't always easy, but it's possible. And one effective way to do so is by deploying efficient UPS technology at the edge.

Ready to learn more? Access this new eguide titled, "Three technologies to address UPS challenges at the edge" which takes a deeper dive into the technologies that can help your organization with its sustainability goals.