We hear a lot about sustainability these days, but the concept has been around for a long time. The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 was the first major law that “committed the United States to sustainability, declaring it a national policy ‘to create and maintain conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.’”

In 1987, the United Nations defined it as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” 

Today, sustainability means different things to different people—but, in particular, here’s what it will mean to federal tech leaders.

How the Federal Government Is Prioritizing Sustainability

The federal government is the largest energy consumer in the United States, with more than 350,000 energy-utilizing buildings. Energy used in buildings and facilities represents about 40% of the total site-delivered energy use of the federal government. So, it’s no surprise that interest in sustainability continues to be a critical focus for the federal government.

President Biden’s Executive Order (EO) on Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability was designed to reestablish the federal government as a leader in sustainability. The EO, along with the accompanying Federal Sustainability Plan, sets forth, among other goals, a target for reducing U.S. net greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels by 2030.

The EO is designed to reduce emissions across federal operations; invest in American clean energy industries and manufacturing; and create clean, healthy, and resilient communities. It directs the federal government to “lead by example in tackling the climate crisis” and use “its scale and procurement power” to achieve several goals. Among these is to achieve:

  • A net-zero emissions building portfolio by 2045, including a 50% emissions reduction by 2032.
  • Net-zero emissions from overall federal operations by 2050, including a 65% emissions reduction by 2030.

How Energy Efficiency in Data Centers Can Help

Data centers offer a tremendous opportunity for energy and cost savings and this opportunity will continue to expand. Demand is expected to grow, as the federal government continues to modernize legacy IT and embrace cloud computing. 

Data centers are one of the most energy-intensive building types, consuming 10 to 50 times the energy per floor space of a typical commercial office building, according to the Department of Energy. Collectively, these spaces account for approximately 2% of the total U.S. electricity use.

This makes data centers a prime opportunity for improving efficiency by upgrading technology to offset energy consumption.

Partnering with the Federal Government to Achieve Climate Goals

Companies that supply the federal government are crucial partners in helping it achieve its climate goals. Reducing emissions through the federal government’s procurement includes buying materials with a lower carbon footprint. To accomplish this, the EO sets forth a further goal: prioritizing the purchase of sustainable products.

Pure Storage Is Committed to Building Sustainable Products

The global concern over climate change has made its way into the executive offices of millions of organizations. Building a sustainable technology infrastructure is necessary to mitigate global warming and the impacts of climate change. 

At Pure, sustainability is an integral part of our technology, operations, and people. We’re leading the way by designing and building products and delivering services that allow our customers to dramatically decrease their own environmental footprints.

On March 29, 2022, Pure issued its inaugural Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) report, which provides visibility into the company’s current metrics and sets commitments for making meaningful progress toward a better future for the global community. 

As explained by Pure Storage CEO and Chairman Charles Giancarlo, “Pure makes a significant and immediate impact today by reducing data center carbon emissions worldwide through our environmental sustainability efforts. Pure’s products positively impact our customers’ environmental footprint by requiring substantially less power, space, and cooling, and by producing less waste than disk-based or competitive all-flash systems.”

Delivering Environmental Benefits

As part of its ESG report, Pure conducted a product life cycle assessment (LCA) of its portfolio, specifically FlashArray™ systems. The assessment found that Pure customers achieve up to 80% reduction in direct carbon usage compared to competitive all-flash products.

Expanding on the energy and emissions savings that Pure brings its customers, Pure’s unique Evergreen™ architecture and Pure as-a-Service™ subscription deliver further environmental benefits by significantly minimizing e-waste, extending the service lifetimes of equipment, and reducing underutilization of storage. As a result of these programs, 97% of Pure arrays purchased six years ago are still in service.

Looking Ahead

For Pure, this is only the beginning. Pure envisions a future in which all our stakeholders can thrive in a more sustainable environment. We see ESG reporting as an important tool through which we evaluate our performance and identify future opportunities for improvement.

We hope that other storage technology vendors will follow our lead and design products that help customers reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to meeting their environmental savings goals.

Read Pure’s full ESG report to find out more about Pure’s business and employee initiatives. 

Learn how you can build a green data center with FlashArray