Friday, 23 October 2009

Green Grid EU data centre policy report

The Green Grid has released a guide to policies affecting the data centre industry in the EU as a whole and the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands in particular.  The full 60-page White Paper, entitled ‘The Green Grid Energy Policy Research For Data Centres’, is freely available here.

The report points out that growth of data centres and their use of energy means that the industry will be particularly affected by the drive for energy efficiency for equipment and buildings.  With the rising number of policies and regulations, organisations need to keep up with the implications of the legislations and their responsibilities.

Vic Smith, Dell representative and EMEA Technical Work Group chair of The Green Grid said that “The overall finding from the report is that legislation is continuously tightening, and therefore it is advisable to innovate now and seek out opportunities to manage future implications for all data centres across the region,”.  (Which very much fits in with our own view of jumping before you’re pushed). 

The report lists the most significant policies to affect organisations and their impact on finances, operations and company reputation:

09-10-23 Green Grid - data centres

The most significant policies identified were:

• The UK’s forthcoming Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) legislation, which we have reported on previously, is seen as representing the most significant financial risk to the data centre sector because of the penalties for non-compliance.  The whitepaper includes some models of how the legislation would affect data centres of different sizes (which anyone involved in the business in the UK really should read).  The CRC is also the only piece of regulation thought likely to have an impact across the three areas of concern.

• Revisions to the EU’s Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), which will include new buildings to be zero energy by the end of 2018 (although the term will not be defined until next year).  Member states are also to set minimum percentages for a share of existing buildings to be energy neutral in 2015 and 2020.

• Various building codes and planning policies across the EU will increase the financial burden associated with building and technical designs in order to comply.

The guide also makes recommendations, including:

• All stakeholders should prepare for and manage risks associated with the (UK) Carbon Reduction Commitment.

• Data centre operators should be measuring and reporting their energy consumption and pushing for reductions across the IT infrastructure and building services.

• Data centre operators should take advantage of any energy efficiency incentives, such as tax reductions and capital allowances.

This is good stuff and worth a read.  The experience in the UK is that the CRC crept up on the industry and caught it by surprise.  It’s debatable whether all data centre managers in the UK are yet aware of the implications (most will be included in the legislation when it’s passed, in the next few months).  Any company that runs data centres international will have a host of policies to be aware of and planning for.  Those with any sense will be drawing up company-wide plans now.  They may well change, as legislation does, but as someone once said, plans are nothing, but planning is everything.

© The Green IT Review

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