Giving a Hoot: The Busy Life of a Data Center Energy & Sustainability Manager

"It's such an exciting time to be in the sustainability and energy industry right now. No two days are alike." -Casey Mason

High school graduates with big goals often leave home to
pursue their dreams. They may head to college, pursue an artistic passion, join
the military or start a business. After Sabey Data Center’s Energy and Sustainability Manager Casey Mason graduated, she picked up trash.

Yes, instead of heading immediately to college Casey chose
to pick up trash on roads throughout the Western United States. Serving as an
intern (with a group that labeled themselves “trash-terns”) for non-profit Pick
Up America
, Casey and her team picked up over 200 tons of trash across 3,672
miles of roads, speaking to over 9,000 students along the way. 

What inspired her to delay the academic path that eventually
led to an environmental science degree from the University of Maryland?

“I’ve always felt a great reverence for the natural world,”
Casey said. “My mom was an elementary school teacher and she used to play the
Woodsy the Owl Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute public service announcements. The
song Reduce, Reuse, Recycle was seared into my memory at an early age to
such an extent that I would find myself humming it when picking up trash.”

When it comes to a commitment to sustainability, Casey and Sabey Data Centers are a tight fit.

Sabey Data Centers was born in the Pacific Northwest as a data center provider who pursued sustainability by primarily utilizing power from hydroelectric sources. The company has continued to operate in as green a manner as possible in each market served.

“More than ever, data center customers are demanding sustainable and efficient practices,” she continued. “Not only is Sabey pursuing what is best for the environment but we are seeking to capture cost savings for ourselves and our customers, as increased efficiency leads to decreased power usage and lower electric bills.

“My goal is to expand upon Sabey Data Centers’ rich history of sustainable operations, one which recently earned the company several ENERGY STAR™ ratings as high as 99 and 100 out of 100 in our data centers.”

That’s an admirable big-picture view, but what does that translate into on a day-to-day basis?

She classifies her activities into the following categories:

Energy Efficiency: “We operate by the mantra, ‘the best kilowatt hour is the one that isn’t used.’  Our low PUEs are proof that energy efficiency is a part of our DNA here at Sabey, but we still monitor our energy usage very carefully and find ways to make continuous improvements to become even more efficient.

Community Collaboration for Goal Setting and Tracking: “Sabey has been a leader in data center industry organizations that focus on sustainability and energy efficiency. In my role, I’ve been charged with escalating that involvement to cross over into the broader business realm. The Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) and the Climate Pledge both have our involvement, and we’re active members of the Clean Energy Buyers Alliance (CEBA), an organization that focuses on fostering collaboration among large energy buyers like us.

New Technologies: “Our executive team has long focused on technological innovation as a path to improved efficiency, and our data center operations group has executed that charge quite effectively over the years. I’ve become highly involved in those efforts and spend time researching current and emerging technologies that will help us reduce Sabey’s carbon footprint. Technology improvements that we’re either implementing or evaluating include long-term battery storage, hydrogen fuel cells, utilization of hydrogen fuel for backup generators, renewable diesel for generators, cooling technologies for data center equipment and innovative construction materials and facility operations equipment.

Research: “Pouring over case studies and research papers enables greater understanding of the opportunities inherent in all these areas we’re discussing. Energy market dynamics are constantly shifting. The universe of sustainability is constantly expanding. It’s such an exciting time to be in the sustainability and energy industry right now. No two days are alike.”

As the digital economy continues to escalate in importance, and so much more of our business and personal lives take place online, the importance of data center sustainability and efficiency only grows in importance. Continual improvement toward reduced emissions and net zero carbon impact requires sustainability professionals like Casey Mason to discover and lead the implementation of the technologies and practices that will get us there.

Recently, Casey published Sabey Data Centers’ 2022 Sustainability Report. Download to learn more about what Sabey is doing to honor our sustainability pledges. 

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