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Iron Mountain leads the way with 100% renewable energy goals

As an Energy All-Star, Iron Mountain Incorporated (NYSE: IRM) has a truly innovative energy profile. To meet the needs of their entire portfolio, Iron Mountain chose to work with Direct Energy Business and use two of our managed products, Load Following Block & Index and PowerPortfolio®.

Iron Mountain picked these solutions because they are built around buying electricity at lower costs using hedges, which creates stability and helps mitigate some price volatility.

CBRE Energy Manager for Iron Mountain Chris Pennington sat down with us to talk about their energy journey and the strategies they’re using today that make them an Energy All-Star.


Iron Mountain’s beginning and how their evolving business influences their energy needs.

Iron Mountain started as record storage company. A secure place for businesses to store their important records throughout their retention period. Its important business records are kept secure and safe and can be accessed when needed. Iron Mountain has evolved to include secure storage of back up tapes and now includes secure storage of fine art, film and sound archives and other high value assets.

More recently, Iron Mountain expanded into data center services in an effort to assist clients with their digital transformation needs. It’s a great complementary service to the record storage service that’s been provided for decades.

The real estate portfolio has over 1,400 facilities around the world, most of which use very little energy because it doesn’t take a lot of energy to store paper records. On the other end the spectrum there are data centers that use significant amounts of power. We have buildings with a 40KW load and buildings that use 1,000 MW hours a month. The portfolio is kind of polarized into two very different usage patterns and to meet the needs of our entire portfolio we must use multiple solutions effectively.


data center


It’s more than just energy strategy goals for Iron Mountain – it’s about their environmental impact and how they took steps to meet their 100% renewable goal.

As we began recognizing how much energy is being consumed globally and found ways to use less, we also became more aware of the environmental impact of that consumption. Back in 2014 when the journey started, hardly anyone at Iron Mountain had visibility to how much energy we were using globally. Today, we have a good line of sight into our global energy consumption and environmental impact. Transparency with what this impact is and the clear goals we have to improve performance has been important.

For example, in 2018 Iron Mountain joined a growing number of businesses making the RE100 commitment, which means we commit to procure 100% of electricity from renewable sources. It is an important goal which we are aggressively pursuing. Direct Energy Business has an important role in helping us achieve several of our goals, whether it’s simply how to buy energy cheaper, or how we meet our 100% renewable goal.


How Iron Mountain is meeting their RE100 goal and their challenges meeting that goal.

Our preferred source of renewable power is to make it onsite, typically with solar. The next best option is to procure green power from the utility through our retail supply agreements. The last preferred solution, but one that is still necessary, is offsite virtual power purchase agreements which provide large amounts of RECs. Over time, we hope to be able to source more and more of our renewable power through the first two solutions; on-site and directly through our retail providers.

It’s exciting for us that retailers like Direct Energy Business are continuing to find ways to facilitate our access to large amounts of renewable power at lower costs and deliver it us in a firm, fixed manner.


Iron Mountain’s broad energy strategy.

The energy strategy began by seeing opportunities for Iron Mountain to reduce costs through energy efficiency. Reducing consumption improves building performance and supports Iron Mountain’s ongoing efforts to innovate methods to deliver cost effective services to its clients. Building on this, in 2014 we put together an energy strategy for the organization focused on three things.

  1. Find ways to use less power.
  2. Find ways to lower our cost of power.
  3. Make all our energy renewable.

We have been executing this strategy for the last four and half years and have seen good results. Iron Mountain has shed tens of thousands of megawatt hours of power from facilities just through facility upgrades which are mostly lighting improvements. We still have lots of opportunity to improve upon facility upgrades across the global portfolio.

For the second element of the strategy we’ve been leaning on Direct Energy Business to help us buy power at the lowest possible price. Now we’re seeking to get even more support from them to help us execute our plan to make all our electricity renewable.


Using Load Following Block & Index and PowerPortfolio as part of their procurement strategy helped Iron Mountain buy energy at a lower cost.

We have relied on input and guidance from the team at Direct Energy Business to help us find solutions that will continue to meet our needs. Part of that has been around buying power at lower costs and part of it has been around creating some stability and mitigating price volatility. The solutions that the team has collectively been executing for us are getting the results that we see value in.

Direct Energy Business is a good partner to have because they’re well established. They are a big organization with a lot of capabilities and a company we can count on to deliver.

We would love for a retailer like them to get even more engaged with us to bring new renewable projects onto the grid and deliver it to us as green power. We hope that these products and solutions for delivering renewable power through retail supply agreements at lower costs becomes mainstream in the U.S. marketplace like we have seen in other countries.


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