Progress in Carbon Neutrality

Our targets

As a responsible, leading IT infrastructure service provider, VNET is facing the global challenge of climate change by setting ambitious carbon reduction targets to advance the Group's low-carbon transition.

Our strategies

Based on our current carbon emission status and business model, we have optimized the "4C" pathway towards carbon neutrality, through four dimensions of carbon reduction, carbon removal, carbon offset and carbon empowerment, fully leveraging an array of approaches including energy-saving technology use, renewable energy transition, carbon trading and empowerment of the upstream and downstream industrial chain to achieve our carbon neutrality target.

In 2023, we have continued to promote distributed photovoltaic, conducted in-depth research on energy storage and hydrogen energy, facilitated green power trading, explored technological innovations such as data center cooling and waste heat recovery, resulting in multiple remarkable results.

GHG emissions verification

VNET conducts a greenhouse gas emission inventory every year within organizational and reporting boundaries, covering Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions. We engage a qualified independent third-party agency to verify and validate our emissions in accordance with the ISO 14064-3:2019 Specification with Guidance for the Verification and Validation of Greenhouse Gas Statements.

Full-Lifecycle Construction of Green Data Centers

VNET strives to promote a green development path that is "high-efficient, energy-saving, low-carbon and circular" for its data centers. We also focus on improving our green management capabilities throughout the full lifecycle of site selection, design, construction and operation of data centers to reduce our carbon footprint. This year, the average annual PUE of our data centers with stabilized operations was 1.29. Meanwhile, a number of sites involved in the Group's main business have been certified to the Environmental Management Systems (ISO 14001).

Site selection

During site selection of data centers, we carry out environmental impact assessments to evaluate ecological environmental impacts of the construction project in the proposed site selection area, and formulate relevant prevention, control, and protection measures in accordance with the Law of the People's Republic of China on Environmental Impact Assessment, Regulations on the Administration of Construction Project Environmental Protection and other relevant regulations.

We strictly abide by the Convention on Biological Diversity of the United Nations and other regulations and principles related to biological diversity, assess relevant risks, and strive to mitigate the impact of our operational footprint on biological diversity on our best effort. There are currently no sites where the Group operates that are located in or adjacent to protected areas and areas of high biodiversity outside protected areas.

The accessibility of renewable energy is one of the important evaluation criteria during our site selection process. We consider the availability of renewable energy around our data centers when planning their layout, with a goal to increase the use of renewable energy.

Planning and design

We rigorously adhere to the requirements of the Code for Design of Data Centers (GB 50174-2017) and benchmark our procedures against the reliability and flexibility standards of international data centers as per the Uptime Tier-Ready III certification. Additionally, we conduct data center planning and design work, ensuring computational power while fully considering the green attributes of data centers.

The efficiency of water use in data centers is a key performance indicator to measure the green nature of our data centers. We pay great attention to the water resources supply capacity of the project operation location, evaluate the current and future water resources situation of the local area, and compare them with historical water use data from nationwide data centers as a reference for new data centers. In doing so, we aim to reduce water consumption from the front-end planning and design, and enhance the reliability and resilience of facility operations. For areas that may be at risk of water scarcity, we will full assess the situation of water resources and develop water-saving planning and design schemes such as the use of waterless or water-saving heating and ventilation structure architecture design to prepare for situations of water scarcity or absence.

In terms of the architectural design of data centers, we adopt more sophisticated structures or designs to improve energy efficiency. By considering the layout of equipment, we maximize the application of green energy-saving equipment and technologies, and continuously optimize the layout of equipment to enhance the efficiency of our operations.

Project construction

During the construction of data centers, we make efforts to minimize the environmental impact, prevent and control environmental pollution. We have implemented data center prefabrication by dividing data center construction into multiple functional modules such as cooling, IT, power supply, etc., which are assembled and integrated prior to the construction of the project site, in order to shorten the project duration at the construction site, reduce the amount of raw materials used, and avoid the generation of construction waste and construction waste. We have applied prefabrication technology to data centers in Kunshan and other locations, achieving simple project delivery, controlled quality, and low-carbon environmental protection. During on-site construction, we follow the principle of saving water and electricity by adopting low-energy construction lighting facilities during construction and rainwater collection devices to realize the secondary use of construction water. We establish an environmental management system for the construction site and adopt various measures to prevent and govern environmental influence generated during construction, such as dust, noise and wastewater.

Sustainable Operations

VNET is committed to promoting sustainable operations, and continuously explores new energy transition methods and operational efficiency improvements to fulfill its carbon reduction goals.

Empowering the energy transition

A new type of power system driven by green, low-carbon, economically efficient, and flexible capabilities will be the core competitiveness and lifeline of future computing power infrastructure. This is also highly in line with VNET's entrepreneurial mission and goal for the next 25 years: bring green direct-current electricity from data centers to millions of households. VNET is actively responding to the country's goal of accelerating the construction of a new power system based on new energy, as well as the call to strengthen power demand-side management. We implement power conservation, green power consumption, power substitution, intelligent power use, and orderly power use in the power consumption process to promote the safe carbon reduction, efficiency improvement, and consumption reduction of the power system, to lead the energy transformation of the industry.

Renewable energy investments

Distributed photovoltaics

This year, VNET is continually carry out the exploration and application of distributed renewable energy. In 2023, the PV power generation projects of Beijing Yizhuang Boxing Data Center and Guangdong Foshan Smart City Data Center generate a combined total of approximately 272,500 kWh of power.

Energy storage technologies

New energy storage technologies are the fundamental components for constructing new power systems. The shift toward load-storage integrated data centers which are equipped with supporting energy storage facilities provides a new pathway to the transition to green energy, and helps us to achieve an economic balance between green power supply and green computing power. In response to the national appeal for accelerating the construction of a new energy system and promoting the integration of "source-grid-load-storage", VNET is actively exploring technologies to achieve the integrated development of renewable energy and energy storage, and has made great strides in some data centers.

Hydrogen energy research

VNET continues to conduct feasibility studies on the application of hydrogen energy in data centers to promote the development and application of hydrogen energy technologies. We have carried out technical research on hydrogen production, storage, transmission, etc., launched a pilot test and pre-research project on stationary hydrogen fuel cells, and conducted pre-study on the construction of hydrogen power stations. We have also compiled the White Paper on the Development of Hydrogen Long-Term Energy Storage for Data Centers.

Green power trading

VNET is actively participating in green power trading in many regions. This year, we purchased about 56.90 million kWh of green electricity. In addition, we signed the 2023 Green Power Purchase Agreement with CGN Solar (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd., which contains a five-year green power supply guarantee clause of providing about 500 million kWh.

Cooperation and communication

VNET works with partners to promote the green and low-carbon transition of the industrial chain by undertaking a series of cutting-edge projects that integrate computing power and energy. In 2023, VNET co-organized the "Green Direct-Current Data Center (GDDC) 100" and the “First Hyper-Connected New Computing Power Industry and the 3rd DISCOVERY Conference for China's IDC Industry” with partners.

Improving operation efficiency

VNET is striving to build new data centers that are both intensive and circular. We are committed to comprehensively improving the efficiency of our operations to help boost the sustainable development of data centers.

Improving energy efficiency

VNET constantly improves the energy and O&M efficiency of data centers by establishing standard energy-saving management systems, applying green energy-saving technologies and building intelligent platforms. We have formulated the Energy Management System and other documents to offer guidance on energy conservation and reducing energy consumption, as well as improving water-use and cooling efficiency in data centers. A number of sites involved in the Group's main business have been certified to the Energy Management Systems (ISO 50001).

Applying green energy-saving technologies

This year, in accordance with the Guidelines for Energy-Saving Operations, we implemented energy-saving measures for key data centers through actions such as optimizing air distribution, three-state mode switching, equipment renovation and replacement, and enhanced water treatment and cleaning.

In response to the common problem of heat loss in data centers, we carried out a waste heat recovery project to maximize the recycling of wasted heat. We have surveyed the surrounding resources of data centers nationwide and carried out feasibility studies to promote the large-scale application of waste heat recovery in data centers. In addition, we are cooperating with a third-party company to research and develop new waste heat recovery technologies, thus improving the efficiency of heat utilization.

Creating an intelligent platform

The Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) platform independently developed by VNET is an intelligent operational solution based on the digital twin technology of data centers. The platform provides intelligent O&M features such as real-time monitoring and analysis, accurate intelligent control, and PUE prediction for infrastructure in data centers. In turn, this helps them improve energy efficiency management and O&M management levels, reducing PUEs and enhancing resource utilization rates.

We consistently investigate the utilization of AI technologies in data centers. We utilize AI energy efficiency management technologies to analyze and process historical data and real-time operational data of the BA system, dynamic environment monitoring system, power monitoring system, and other systems. Modeling and training are conducted using deep learning technology in order to create optimal control strategies and parameters, and guide O&M personnel's adjustments to control strategies. As a result, we can optimize and monitor air conditioning systems in data centers in real time, thus reducing the overall consumption of cooling systems. In addition, AI technologies are also used for predictive maintenance to optimize inspection and maintenance strategies to improve efficiency, avoid breakdowns and extend equipment life.

Water resources management

VNET places a high value on the management and usage efficiency of water resources, and multiple actions have been taken to utilize and manage water resources in a reasonable manner. We develop and apply water-free cooling technologies and actively explore rainwater collection and reuse technologies, as well as reclaimed water recycling technologies. We also continuously enhance the water-use efficiency of existing water-cooling systems and reduce the consumption of natural water resources.

VNET promotes the comprehensive utilization of municipal reclaimed water in its self-built parks in Beijing, Langfang, Huailai, and Ulanqab. Reclaimed water treatment plants and pipeline systems are planned and designed in parks to ensure that production water can be recycled via a reclaimed water system after the project is put into operation.

Waste management

The types of waste produced by VNET mainly include electronic waste and household waste, which are generated from the daily operations of its data centers and offices. We strictly abide by the relevant national laws and regulations in waste storage, transportation, disposal, etc. Meanwhile, we enhance the construction and operational management of data centers, actively promote garbage sorting, and recycle resources in order to prevent and control the risks of environmental pollution.

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