Carbon Explorer: A Holistic Framework for Designing Carbon Aware Datacenters

ACM International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems (ACM ASPLOS)


Technology companies reduce their datacenters’ carbon footprint by investing in renewable energy generation and receiving credits from power purchase agreements. Annually, datacenters offset their energy consumption with generation credits (Net Zero). But hourly, datacenters often consume carbon-intensive energy from the grid when carbon-free energy is scarce. Relying on intermittent renewable energy in every hour (24/7) requires a mix of renewable energy from complementary sources, energy storage, and workload scheduling. In this paper, we present the Carbon Explorer framework to analyze the solution space. We use Carbon Explorer to balance tradeoffs between operational and embodied carbon, optimizing the mix of solutions for 24/7 carbon-free datacenter operation based on geographic location and workload.

Carbon Explorer has been open-sourced here.

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