Navigating EU’s  ‘EED’ with EcoStruxure: Interview with Schneider Electric’s Kevin Brown 

On May 15th, the European Union introduced the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), mandating companies to report their energy usage, particularly those with IT equipment exceeding 500 kilowatts in nameplate capacity, which translates to approximately 250 kilowatts of actual IT load.

In our latest podcast interview; Kevin Brown, Director of EcoStruxure in the Secure Power Division of Schneider Electric, shared insights on the evolving role of energy efficiency and sustainability in data centers, particularly in light of new regulatory frameworks such as the EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive (EED). 

To hear Brown tell it, this new regulation presents a significant challenge to the industry. However, it also positions Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure DCIM software as an essential tool to help companies comply.

The Role of Software in Sustainability

Brown discussed the increasing importance of software and reporting tools like EcoStruxure in the accurate collection of data. With regulations emerging in both Europe and the U.S., there’s a growing focus on sustainability at the CEO level. Questions about the energy consumption of IT footprints, efficiency measures, and sustainability practices, once theoretical, are now becoming regulatory requirements.

“Overall sustainability is becoming a bigger topic for companies at the CEO level,” Brown noted. “Accurate data collection and reporting are crucial for meeting these new regulations, and our EcoStruxure product is designed to provide the granular data needed.”

EcoStruxure is tailored to address the intersection of Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT). Brown explained that companies need comprehensive data to measure metrics like Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE), which reflects the efficiency of a data center. This requires data from both IT equipment and the power and cooling infrastructure. EcoStruxure simplifies this complex data collection, making it easier for companies to generate reports that meet regulatory standards.

Schneider Electric has also implemented EcoStruxure internally, achieving significant energy reductions across its own assets. Brown shared that their CIO had launched a Green IT program well before these regulations were introduced, resulting in impressive energy savings. For instance, their Boston headquarters saw an 11% reduction in energy consumption, while their Lexington factory achieved a 34% reduction.

“By measuring and managing energy consumption, we found numerous opportunities for efficiency,” Brown said. “This not only helps in complying with regulations but also in eliminating waste, which is good for business.”

Beyond tools and software, Schneider Electric offers consultancy services to help organizations develop strategies for energy consumption and efficiency. This comprehensive approach includes forming action plans to meet regulatory requirements and overall sustainability goals. Brown highlighted the importance of starting with accurate data, as it forms the foundation for any sustainability strategy.

Looking Ahead: AI and Energy Management

What is the role of AI in IT and its implications for energy management? 

As companies deploy AI technologies, managing the higher-density workloads becomes critical. EcoStruxure can help mitigate the risks associated with these new workloads by providing robust data management and reporting capabilities.

Kevin Brown highlights that while the energy consumption of hyperscalers garners attention, it’s the CIOs who predominantly drive IT purchases. As AI continues to advance, the onus on CIOs to efficiently manage energy consumption will intensify.

Brown further stresses the synergy between sustainable practices and financial benefits. By investing in robust reporting tools and developing comprehensive sustainability strategies, companies can not only comply with regulations but also enhance their profitability by eliminating waste.

“Sustainability and profitability go hand in hand,” Brown concluded. “Accurate, transparent data is key to making informed decisions that benefit both the environment and the bottom line.”

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