According to a new report from Pike Research, the IT industry is responsible for around 2% of the world’s carbon emissions and data centres are the fastest growing part of that footprint. While energy efficiency has not traditionally been a major emphasis for IT organisations, the industry is now highly focused on implementing solutions that will reduce energy expenses and carbon emissions associated with data center operations.

The investment in greener data centres will allegedly experience rapid growth over the next five years, increasing from $7.5 billion in global revenue to $41.4 billion by 2015, representing 28% of the total data centre market.

“Cost of energy has seldom been a concern for IT departments in the past,” says industry analyst Eric Woods, “and there was little incentive to invest in energy efficiency improvements. But as data centre energy costs become more visible, the financial benefits of moving to a greener mode of operation are being recognised by CEOs, CFOs, and CIOs.”

Woods adds that the green data centre has evolved in response to concern over energy use, but it is also connected to the broader transformation that data centres are undergoing. This transformation encompasses technical innovation, operational improvement, new design principles, and changes to the relationship between IT and business. The data centre of the future will be energy efficient; it will also be virtualised, to ensure optimal use of IT resources, space and energy, and it will be more dynamic in its operation, adaptable to new business needs and new technology opportunities.

Pike Research’s analysis indicates that power and cooling infrastructure solutions will be the largest portion of the green data centre market opportunity, representing 46% of revenue over the next five years. Energy efficient IT equipment will be the second largest category with 41% of the market, and monitoring and management will follow with 14% of total revenue.