Progress in carbon neutrality

Our targets

Facing the global challenge of climate change, VNET set an ambitious target of carbon neutrality in 2021 as a part of the efforts to advance the comprehensive low-carbon transition of the Group.

Our strategies

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

In 2022, we continued our work on green power trading, energy storage, hydrogen research, and distributed PV equipment which achieved remarkable results.

Our performance

VNET conducted a greenhouse gas emission inventory, covering the greenhouse gas emissions of Scope 1, Scope 2, and partial Scope 3 within the organizational and reporting boundaries of 2022. The greenhouse gases involved include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) and etc. The greenhouse gas emission inventory results show that the five types of greenhouse gas emissions involved during the reporting period are CO2, N2O, CH4, HFCs, and SF6.

Full Life Cycle Construction of Green Data Centers

To achieve carbon neutrality targets, VNET is actively following a green development path that is "high-efficient, low carbon, intensive and circular". We focus on improving the green management capabilities throughout a full life cycle of siting, design, construction and operation of data centers to reduce our carbon footprint. This Year, the average PUE of our stabilized data centers was 1.37.


During siting phase of data centers, we strictly follow the principles of regional ecological conservation and environmental protection, and carry out environmental impact assessments 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 to ensure that there are no environmental pollution risks in target areas. We strictly abide by the requirements and principles of various biodiversity-related regulations and principles such as the Convention on Biological Diversity of the United Nations, assess relevant risks, and make our best efforts to mitigate biodiversity impact of our operational footprint.

The accessibility of clean energy is also one of our key considerations in project siting. VNET actively responds to the national "East-Data-West-Computing" strategic project, considers the clean energy consumption of data centers in West China undertakes the overflow demand of computing power from the east and raises the proportion of green energy usage to help achieve the national dual carbon target. With our outstanding performance in the "East-Data-West-Computing" construction and green lowcarbon development, VNET was awarded the 2022 "East- Data-West-Computing" Carbon Neutrality Pioneer Award. In the future, the Group will increase the proportion of data centers in West China, with the growth rate of data center investment in West China twice than that in East China for the next five years.

In addition, due to the high dependence of data centers on water resources, we pay close attention to the water stress in our operation location. In the siting process, we evaluated the current and future local water stress, and compared them with historical water use data from nationwide data centers as reference for the siting of new data centers, in order to enhance the reliability and resilience of facility operations, while preparing for future aggravation in water stress.

Planning and design

We strictly comply with the requirements of the Code for Design of Data Centers (GB 50174-2017) and benchmark our practices against Uptime Tier III Ready for the reliability and flexibility of international data centers in planning and design, while fully considering the green attributes of data centers under the premise of ensuring computing power.

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

Project construction

During the construction of data centers, we make efforts to minimize the environmental impact and avoid pollution. For the selection of building materials, we give priority to materials that are durable, environment-friendly and recyclable. We also try to reduce carbon emissions during transportation through local procurement as well as adopting prefabricated components to shorten the construction period and reduce the risk of environmental pollution at the project site. During the construction process, we build the three-level management network for construction site environmental governance. We also adopt various measures to prevent the environmental pollution generated during construction, such as dust, noise and wastewater. This year, VNET's main operation locations all passed the Environmental Management System (ISO 14001) certification.

All new data centers are designed in accordance with the China green building one-star standard. In addition, we plan to apply for green building certification for all newly-planned data centers. As of the end of the reporting period, a total of eight data centers have been certified as green data center.

Efficient operations

Energy efficiency

VNET is committed to promoting the efficient operation and maintenance of data centers and constantly explores operating modes or technologies that can improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions to help achieve the zero-carbon target. We have formulated documents such as the Carbon Emissions Management System and the Energy Management System, aiming to guide energy saving and consumption reduction of the data centers, and continuously strengthen water management and improve water use and cooling efficiency. In 2022, we compiled guidelines on the energy-saving operation of data centers and conducted project statistics and analysis of the existing data centers nationwide to promote the energy-saving transformation of equipment. VNET's main business premises all passed the Energy Management System (ISO 50001) certification.

VNET organically combines the application of energy saving technologies with intelligent management. The independently-developed Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) platform system realizes the efficient operation and maintenance management of data centers through functions such as "centralized intelligent monitoring" and "intelligent capacity". At the same time, we continuously explore the application of AI technologies in data centers and, utilizing AI energy efficiency management technologies to output optimal control strategies and parameters through intelligent analysis and processing of operational data. This approach thereby reduces the overall energy consumption of cooling systems. In VNET's data centers, AI technologies are also used for fully automated system inspection and fault prediction to improve operation and maintenance efficiency.

In response to the common problem of heat loss in data centers, we carry out waste heat recovery project to maximize the recycling of wasted heat. In 2022, we conducted in-depth research on waste heat recovery, surveyed the surrounding resources of data centers nationwide and carried out feasibility studies to promote the application of waste heat recovery in data centers. In addition, we cooperated with a third-party waste heat utilization company to investigate the waste heat utilization scheme of Boxing Data Center and improve the efficiency of heat utilization. In 2022, VNET Ulanqab Data Center explored the application of new air source heat recovery to realize the secondary utilization of heat and reduce the PUE of the data center.

Water resources

The proper use and management of water resources can provide an important guarantee for the stable and sustainable operation of data centers. VNET takes a variety of actions to effectively manage data center water use efficiency. We actively develop and apply water-free cooling technologies, adopt cooling systems that consume no or less water wherever possible and constantly optimize the water use efficiency of existing water-cooling systems to reduce dependence on water resources.

We are committed to improving the recycling rate of water resources and reducing the consumption of natural water resources through recycling and reusing water. We encourage our data centers to use reclaimed water and explore rainwater recycling to improve water use efficiency. At present, we are actively exploring rainwater collection and reuse technologies in data center parks where conditions permit, thus effectively reducing water consumption.

Empowering Energy Transition

VNET actively responds to the country's goal of accelerating the construction of a new power system based on new energy. We explore the fields of renewable energy, energy storage technologies and energy Internet, leading the energy transition of the industry.

Clean energy

VNET continuously explores the best method to increase the proportion of clean energy applications to promote the application of large-scale wind power and PV power in data centers. We actively apply clean energy on a pilot basis in existing data centers, cooperate with the power grid to develop green dedicated lines and conduct research on hydrogen energy as well as continuously increase the proportion of clean energy in data center energy consumption.

In addition, we have developed a Green Power Management Platform to promote the transition and upgrading of the energy structure by intelligent means. The platform is a comprehensive solution for green power applications that integrates data integration, intelligent analysis, and collaborative management. It helps data centers refine energy management by incorporating green energy from surrounding areas and industry parks into the management scope, performing centralized management and optimizing power dispatch management and power distribution.

Distributed renewable energy

In 2022, VNET constantly explored and applied distributed renewable energy, using solar energy to provide clean energy for data centers.

Hydrogen energy research

In 2022, VNET strengthened its research on hydrogen energy in the field of data centers and promoted the research on hydrogen production, storage, transmission and other module technologies. We also compiled the White Paper on Hydrogen Energy Development in Data Centers and carried out feasibility studies on the application of hydrogen energy in IDCs to promote the development and application of hydrogen energy technologies. We have actively cooperated with external professional institutions, and planned the patent layout in various related fields such as hydrogen source, hydrogen conversion to electricity and hydrogen energy grid connection.

In April 2022, we signed the strategic cooperation framework agreement with Jinghui Hydrogen Energy in Beijing. Based on our respective resources and professional capabilities, the two parties will jointly explore the in-depth integration of technologies such as hydrogen energy equipment manufacturing, diversified hydrogen production, green power and hydrogen storage with data centers.

In September 2022, VNET launched a hydrogen energy pilot test and pre-research project research to explore the first domestic stationary hydrogen fuel cell as a common power source for long-term power supply solutions for data centers. With data centers as main load objects, the project is equipped with a 100 kW hydrogen fuel cell module, which can provide a 24-hour uninterrupted power supply for data centers and reduce carbon emissions by about 1.4 tons per day, exploring the new technical route for the establishment of future zero-carbon data centers.

Green power trading

VNET actively participates in green power trading. In 2022, we signed a 2023 green power purchase agreement (approximately 4 million kWh) with CGN Solar Energy (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd, which contains a green power supply guarantee clause of about 500 million kWh in the next five years.

Green electricity certificate

In 2022, VNET purchased 500,000 kWh of green electricity produced by Xi 'an Longji photovoltaic power generation grid parity project in Xinrong, Shanxi Province, and 500,000 kWh of green electricity produced by 90,000-kW photovoltaic power plant of Datang Shanxi photovoltaic power generation project in Lingchuan, Shanxi Province, which are equivalent to reducing 826,900kg of carbon dioxide emission, 470kg of sulfur dioxide emission and 430kg of nitrogen oxide emission in total.

Energy storage technologies

New energy storage technologies are the basic equipment for constructing new power systems. The movement towards 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 the economic balance between green power supply and green computing power. VNET actively promotes innovative forms of load-storage integrated data centers as well as continuously exploring new scenarios for integrating clean energy and energy storage.

In 2022, VNET shared its advanced experience, enhancing the high-quality development path within the new energy storage industry. We carried out research on long-time energy storage technologies and relevant investment costs such as photovoltaic and chemical batteries, and prepared the white paper on energy storage technologies to promote the industrial development of energy storage technologies. In addition, we teamed up with several institutions, including the Energy Internet Research Institute of Tsinghua University, to launch the global collaborative innovation initiative – "New Energy Storage – SPEAR 2030". Following the upgrade and implementation guidelines within the original SPEAR demonstration project, the initiative intends to achieve the goal of 100 GWh of new energy storage by 2030 through two practical approaches known as "node project + technological innovation", and thereby establishes an enterprise-based, market-oriented green energy storage innovation paradigm integrating the efforts of enterprises, universities and research institutions.

Up to now, VNET has implemented a series of demonstration projects including the Foshan Smart City Data Center and has analyzed and calculated the economic benefits of these projects. In the future, we will actively promote multiple energy storage application projects in Beijing, Ulanqab and Hangzhou.

Collaborative exploration

VNET works with partners to actively promote the development of smart energy. By carrying out a series of cutting-edge projects, as well as integrating computing power and energy, VNET improves energy utilization efficiency and comprehensively promotes the green and low-carbon transition of the industry.

Promoting Circular Economy

VNET insists on building new data centers that are intensive and circular. We are committed to comprehensively improving resource use efficiency and promoting the development of a circular economy.

The waste generated by VNET mainly consists of electronic and domestic waste generated by the daily operation of data centers and office spaces. We strengthen management during the construction and operation of data centers to reduce waste generation and waste of resources. We also actively and continuously increase our waste reuse ratio and dispose of waste that cannot be recycled in compliance with relevant standards.

Data center prefabrication

VNET promotes the prefabrication of data centers. By dividing a data center into multiple functional modules, such as cooling, IT and power supply, VNET can design, assemble and integrate them in advance to shorten the period required on the construction site. This in turn reduces the use of raw materials and avoids the generation of construction waste and the waste of materials.

Waste management

Committed to the recycling of resources, VNET strictly abides by relevant national laws and regulations in waste storage, transportation, disposal and other procedures to prevent and control the risk of environmental pollution.

Waste lead-acid batteries make up the largest proportion of VNET's waste and are mainly used to power uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) in data centers. We strictly comply with the requirements for the storage and disposal of hazardous waste and disposal of waste lead-acid batteries by qualified recyclers in compliance with relevant regulations. Other wastes related to VNET's business operations include scrapped servers, UPS systems, power distribution cabinets, vehicles and household waste. These are recycled by the supplier or handed over to qualified organizations for disposal.

Moreover, we provide recycling services for electronic waste generated by our customers in data centers to fill the gap in service at the end of the life cycle of IT equipment.

Intelligent office

VNET constantly promotes the practice of intelligent and paperless office. In 2022, we launched the i-Vnet mobile office platform and upgraded the original enterprise resource planning system (ERP system) into the Zhixin Cloud Digital Intelligent Collaboration Platform. This upgrade covered all business lines within the Group. Through our intelligent transformation, various business needs of employees can be satisfied, such as online mobile office, video conferencing, one-click approval, reducing not only paper consumption generated by office work but also carbon emissions caused by employees needing to travel, truly enabling cloud-based collaboration and efficient office work.

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