The desire to decrease energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions is prompting data centers to adopt energy-efficient systems, according to research firm Frost & Sullivan.

The growing popularity of data-intensive services such as colocation, Web hosting and the cloud has compelled data centers to improve their technologies and service quality, the firm says. One of the fallouts of the explosion of data is the requirement for more powerful and effective cooling systems.

Because high-density server racks can’t be adequately cooled using legacy technologies, there’s a need for high-density cooling modules, Frost & Sullivan says. At the same time, organizations continue to use low-density racks, as not all applications require high performance computing. This creates demand for a wider range of cooling solutions in the market.

The firm’s report, “Analysis of the Data Center Cooling Market,” finds that the market had total revenues of $1.12 billion in 2012 and estimates this to reach $2.04 billion by 2018.

“The growing demand for cloud and colocation services from a large range of verticals has altered market dynamics,” Pramod Dibble, Frost & Sullivan energy and environmental research analyst, said in a statement. “Data is increasingly being perceived as a vital asset, and there are substantial retrofit opportunities for cooling systems in legacy data centers that still run outdated cooling equipment, and therefore, spend inordinately on cooling and emit large quantities of greenhouse gases.”

Despite this substantial potential, cooling systems providers are still battling companies’ reluctance to implement new equipment, the report notes. This technology resistance among data center owners and operators stems from the apprehension that servicing of unfamiliar cooling systems might cause expensive delays or downtime, it says.

As a result, many organizations would rather deploy systems that incur higher energy costs and release more greenhouse gases than risk using a system they consider unreliable.