European energy efficiency directive mandates data centre reporting

The recently published European Energy Efficiency Directive, targeting energy consumption and carbon emissions reduction across Europe, necessitates action from data centre operators alongside other industrial sectors.

It aligns with the EU Green Deal’s objective of reducing carbon emissions by 55 percent by the same year. To achieve greater efficiency in data centres, the initial mandatory step is the reporting of energy consumption and emissions for data centres exceeding 500 kilowatts within the bloc.

“We see an increase of data centre energy consumption over time, we’ve projected this will continue, and we think that it’s an important policy objective to try and optimise data centres,” Robert Nuij, deputy Head of Unit for energy efficiency policy and financing at the European Commission told the German Datacenter Conference this week.

Beginning May, 2024, data centre proprietors and operators within the European Union will be obligated to provide an annual report on their data centre’s energy performance for the previous year, which will be stored in a European database.

The data submission, due the following year, will need to encompass the timeframe from May 2023. It should include details such as floor area, installed power capacity, data storage volumes, energy consumption, Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE), temperature set points, utilisation of waste heat, water usage, and the utilisation of renewable energy sources.

There is still some debate about how the data will be reported, acknowledged Niuj: “We are currently working on what we call delegated access or more detailed rules about what exactly one should report and how to measure what should be reported,“ he told the German Datacenter Conference. “We’re relying very much on the existing standards in this area, and we’re not doing this by ourselves.”

He noted that the EU is still gathering information, while the Act in Germany has moved on to requiring specific performance measures: “At the European level, we are currently only looking at reporting requirements. We think that we have too little information at the European level to come forward with specific mandatory minimum performance requirements.”

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