Speech - Address by Ms Low Khah Gek, CEO/ITE at the MOU Signing Ceremony between ITE and Ecolab Pte Ltd on 29 Apr 2024, ITE College East

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  • Publish date:29 Apr 2024

Ms Poh Li San, Member of Parliament for Sembawang GRC (Sembawang West)

Mr Greg Lukasik, SVP & Market Head, Southeast Asia, Ecolab Pte Ltd

Industry Partners

ITE Colleagues

Ladies and gentlemen

It is my utmost pleasure and honour to welcome you to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between ITE and Ecolab Pte Ltd.  This partnership marks a significant milestone in our commitment towards advancing sustainability and in this instance, in the realm of optimising energy and water usage in data centres.

In the last decade, and even more so, in the next decade, we expect the Data Centre industry to grow exponentially as businesses rely increasingly on cloud computing and cloud storage. The pervasive use of social media platforms (Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram) and Generative AI have also amplified the growth for computational power and storage capacity.

Projections indicate that the Asia-Pacific Data Centre market is expected to reach a value of USD $54.6 billion by 2028. This robust growth trajectory is set to occur at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.4% during the years spanning 2023 to 2028. Singapore is also investing heavily to be the data centre hub in the region.

Many of the standards and guidelines used to measure and evaluate data centres originate from Singapore. This includes the BCA-IMDA Green Data Centre Standards which among other measurements, evaluate data centres on power usage effectiveness (PUE) and water usage effectiveness (WUE).

When we discuss sustainability and reducing carbon footprint, we always focus on reducing energy usage and less on water usage. When you are using ChatGPT, you would think only about the electricity that powers your computer and internet equipment. However, generative AI bots are housed in data centers and have a much more significant carbon footprint. Researchers at the University of California, recently crunched the numbers to figure out how much water a data center operating ChatGPT would consume. 

1) The answer - ChatGPT “drinks” roughly 500 ml of fresh water for every 20 that it answers.

2) The conclusion – let’s be prudent when asking  ChatGPT questions and more importantly, data centres must optimise and use water efficiently.

ITE has a Work-Study Diploma programme in Data Centre Infrastructure & Operations to train our students to join the data centre industry. Through the collaboration with Ecolab, we would be able to enhance their training by equipping them with water quality management skills. ITE will have access to  Ecolab’s Data Centre Cooling System Management which optimizes cooling tower performance, enabling data centres to enhance uptime, water usage effectiveness (WUE) and power usage effectiveness (PUE), thus reducing their carbon footprint. 

ITE will be the first Institute of Higher Learning in Singapore to be given unlimited access to Ecolab’s Nalco Water University Portal with 5,400 e-learning hours over the next 3 years. 200 ITE trainees will be able to enrol in the e-learning courses focussing on sustainable water management.  In addition, they will benefit from site visits to manufacturing facilities, laboratories, and data centres to understand water auditing.

ITE's Lecturers and trainees will receive comprehensive training annually by Ecolab’s technical consultants on Ecolab's 3D (Detect, Determine & Deliver) TRASAR™ Technology equipment and co-develop Joint Certification, Certificate of Competency and Electives in areas of water sustainability.

ITE and Ecolab share the same commitment towards sustainability and innovation. As we embark on this collaboration together, let us catalyse positive change, not just within our institutions but across industry and society. Together, we can make a tangible difference in preserving our planet for the future generation.

In conclusion, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Ecolab for your generosity and partnership. My special appreciation goes to Mr Greg Lukasik for your strong support and advocacy. I thank all industry partners for your unwavering dedication to the cause of sustainability and your support for ITE.  Let us forge forward with determination and optimism, knowing that our actions today will shape the world of tomorrow.

Thank you.