Sridhar Pinnapureddy – The green man of Indian data centre sector

Sridhar Pinnapureddy

Sridhar Pinnapureddy, founder and CEO of CtrlS, is one among the few credited with transforming the data centre industry in India and is known as the green man of the Indian data centre industry for a reason. He believes in handing over a greener and better planet to the next generation. For him, green and sustainability measures are a way to keep the planet healthy and safe for future generations.

Under his leadership, the company has undertaken 200 innovations including those focused on energy efficiency, reducing carbon footprint, dependency on fossil fuels, eliminating water wastage, becoming a paperless office, and achieving sustainable outcomes in every sphere of the business.

“At CtrlS, we care for planet earth. It is important that we leave behind a healthy planet for our future generations,” says Sridhar Pinnapureddy. Sridhar’s every move is towards ensuring his organisation, CtrlS Datacenters speaks of his vision and aspiration. This is why his firm is crowned with being the world’s first LEED Platinum-certified green data centre.

Sridhar has also implemented over 80 innovations in sustainability and energy efficiency, built India’s first solar panel covered data centre, built India’s only 100 per cent air pollution free datacentre, deployed Asia’s largest Gas Insulated Substation (GIS) and is now building a 500-acre solar farm to replace fossil fuel dependency.

Knowing the Green Man’s Journey
Sridhar Pinnapurredy started his entrepreneurial journey with a meagre sum of Rs.20,000, a second-hand computer, a fax machine and three working tables. From there to now leading a $250 million Pioneer Group comprising of Pioneer e-Labs, CtrlS Datacenters Ltd, Cloud4C, Schnabel and other group companies, Sridhar’s journey is an inspiration for many. CtrlS is his second venture after Pioneer.

“When I began my journey as an entrepreneur in 1992, there were many things changing, especially the way internet was panning out in India in the latter part of the decade. I realized that it would not make sense for companies to maintain an IT department inside their office once you have data centres that operate at a lower cost offering high-end technology. I could see this trend evolving and that prompted me to start CtrlS Datacenters to build a scalable, one with differentiation and to be the world’s best,”
reminisces Sridhar.

Today, CtrlS is Asia’s largest Rated-4 data centre provider, the world leader in operating Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum Certified v4 O+M green data centre and has won Energy Efficiency Awards for 10 consecutive years from CII and other Indian and global organisations.

But green comes at a cost! So why is Sridhar determined to turn his organisation green? Well to answer that, we need to first understand what data centres cost us. Various research shows that data centres worldwide consume over 400 terawatt-hours of electricity, which is about three per cent of all electricity consumed on planet earth. This is predicted to account for 3.2 per cent of total global carbon emissions by 2025 and consume one-fifth of global electricity.

The industry also generates nearly two per cent of the global
greenhouse gas emissions, which equals the carbon footprint generated by the aviation industry. Storing data digitally may take this count to 14 per cent by 2040. While data centres are now waking up to realize how adversely it impacts the climate, CtrlS has been leading the way for over a decade.

CtrlS today operates data centres where computer, electrical, lighting, and mechanical systems are designed for maximum energy efficiency and minimal environmental impact by curbing greenhouse gas emissions. The company has embarked on several energy-saving initiatives.

These include, but are not limited to, highly efficient power servers and supplies, low power consuming processors, server virtualisation, best cooling practices, chiller plant manager, VFDs for all HVAC equipment, variable cooling system, CTI approved cooling towers besides other measures.

While data centres are notoriously famous for more carbon emissions than the global aviation industry, Sridhar has been working on storage optimization strategies. This includes usage of energy-efficient storage devices, data de-duplication, compression, load balancing, dynamic
provisioning, reducing power density requirements, eliminating redundant data and others. Such innovations have led to low power usage effectiveness (PUE) of 1.35. CtrlS also goes through Ashrae audits regularly to identify areas of energy inefficiency improvement.

“As a responsible organisation, we have embarked on 200 innovations combined with 25 green initiatives to reduce carbon footprint, reduce dependency on fossil fuels, eliminate wastage of water, become a paperless office, achieve near 100 per cent work from home powered by automation, eliminate the usage of plastic and air pollution, recycle e-waste, save trees, and maximise usage of renewable energy,” Sridhar adds.

The Green Move
Sridhar believes in harvesting renewable resources to power his business. Hence, he bets a big way on adopting solar energy. His hyperscale data centre in Mumbai is India’s largest solar plant in façade with 1.3 MW installed capacity generating 1.8 million units of power per year. This helps offset CO2 emissions by 620 tons/year.

Currently, the company is in the process of building a 500-acre solar plant generating solar power ranging between 300 to 500 MW and plans to reduce dependency on fossil fuels and run 85 per cent of its power requirements through renewable energy. On the other hand, CtrlS’ Bengaluru data centre has a 30 KW solar plant operational and is playing a key role in reducing carbon footprint through renewable energy.

Air pollution is hazardous for data centres. It not only shortens the lifespan of human beings but also of IT equipment installed in the data centres due to corrosion. To ensure that pollution doesn’t corrode the IT infrastructure placed within the data centre, CtrlS has built an in-house air filtration plant at its Noida data centre, a city that is infamous for frequent earthquakes and heavy air pollution.

The air filtration plant processes the contaminated air, scrubs it, and then releases clean air into the data centre, thereby ensuring all the servers, storage devices, networking components and other devices located within the facility are protected from such threats.

“CtrlS is among the best data centers in the country. It follows Rated-4 standards defined by ANSI/TIA-942 and complies with all its guidelines. Its Noida datacentre is built to withstand earthquakes and contain air pollution through its air filtration plant, which safeguards IT infrastructure from corrosion and is safe for human lungs,” said Siddharth Jain, MD, EPI India.

Green Certifications
Every CtrlS data centre is built using blocks made from fly ash. The company has been deploying eco-friendly organic chemicals with sophisticated online monitoring across its data centre facilities in addition to an auto dosing system for cooling tower water treatment.

CtrlS also has stormwater harvesting among other green measures. It recycles nearly 70-90 per cent of water at all its data centres and has set up STP/WTP for recycling, collaboration with community STP/ETP/WTP, and others.

Gopalakrishnan, MD, GBCI – Southeast Asia & Middle East Markets added,
“Sustainability is embedded in the DNA of CtrlS, a company led by Sridhar
Pinnapureddy – the green man of the Indian data centre industry. The company is focused on best practices in energy management, good indoor air quality management, water conservation and efficiency management, waste management, etc. All CtrlS Rated-4 Hyperscale data centres are certified as LEED Platinum v4 O+M by GBCI, setting a benchmark for the data centre industry both in India and around the world.”

With all such efforts, CtrlS under the leadership of Sridhar Pinnapureddy the green man of the Indian datacentre industry has eliminated nearly 2,25,000 metric tons of CO2. It has also recycled over 10 billion litres of water, reducing paper usage by 95 per cent.

Thus saving over 10,000 trees, and displacement of carbon equivalent to 149,172 cars driven in the last 900 days, 77,225 tons of battery waste and 2.35 tons of e-waste recycled/disposed off in an environmental-friendly manner. An 18.5 Gwh of annual savings through its energy conservation methods.

Sridhar Pinnapureddy is now well on his way to realizing his dream of creating a healthy planet for future generations well on his way to realizing his dream of creating a healthy planet for future generations through his green interventions and initiatives.

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