What the Green Deal means for data centers in the EU

In the interview: Niek van der Pas, Legrand

22 January 2024, 14:00 | Interview: Doris Piepenbrink | Editor: Jörg Schröper

Niek van der Pas, data center expert and European coordinator for data center standards at Legrand: “The Green Deal needs a green infrastructure. That’s why more than 100 data center operators and professional associations have committed to the European Green Deal as part of the EU’s Climate Agreement.”

Data center managers can no longer avoid putting carbon footprint and other ecological aspects on their agenda. With the Green Deal, the European Union has set itself the goal of being completely climate neutral by 2050.

Since data centers are among the biggest consumers of energy, the EU has launched various initiatives and draft laws. Niek van der Pas is a senior data center expert and European coordinator for Data centerstandards Legrand. In an interview with connect professional, he explained how the regulations interact. Van der Pas is actively involved in Dutch and international standardization bodies and sustainability initiatives.

log in pro: Mr van der Pas, what are the objectives of the EU Green Deal?

Van der Pas: The European Green Deal is a package of policy initiatives designed to put the EU on the path to a green transition. With the Green Deal they want to achieve climate neutrality across the EU by 2050. With the draft climate target for 2030, the Commission proposes, among other things, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 to at least 55 percent below the 1990 level. This Fit for 55 package consists of a series of legislative proposals and amendments to existing EU legislation. Their recommendations, guidelines and best practices aim to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions in across the EU and to achieve climate neutrality.

log in pro: To what extent are data centers affected by this?

Van der Pas: The Green Deal needs green infrastructure. This is why more than 100 data center operators and specialist associations have committed to the European Green Deal as part of the EU Climate Pact. They want to achieve the ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets of the Climate Act with the help of technology and digitalisation. In the climate neutrality pact, they agreed that data centers should be climate neutral by 2030. The Pact for Climate Neutral Data Centers develops best practices in working groups on energy efficiency, clean energy, water, circular economy, heat recovery, Monitoring and the report.

log in pro: What does the European Code of Conduct for Data Center Energy Performance have to do with it?

Van der Pas: In 2007, a group of European data center experts with the EU-Joint Research Center (EU-JRC) began developing a best practice guide for cost-effectively reducing energy consumption in a way that does not affect the mission-critical operation of data centers.

log in pro: Who is bound by the requirements of the EU Code of Conduct?

Van der Pas: The whole thing is a voluntary initiative aimed at bringing together stakeholders, including the coordination of other similar activities by manufacturers, suppliers, consultants and utilities. Signatories are expected to uphold the intent of this Code of Conduct and uphold a set of agreed commitments.

log in pro: What requirements does the European Code of Practice for the Energy Performance of Data Centers include, for example regarding data center cooling?

Van der Pas: The cooling section is included in Chapter 5 with more than 50 best practices for improving data center cooling performance. For example, it suggests the introduction of closed hot and cold air corridors without gaps in the corridor.

log in pro: And what requirements does the European Code of Conduct set for the design of UPS?

Van der Pas: Best practices recommend using high efficiency modular UPS or designing a modular UPS with high efficiency.

log in pro: In addition, everyone is currently talking about the EU Classification Regulation. What do you want to achieve with her?

Van der Pas: The EU Climate Classification Regulation is existing European law and provides a classification system for economic activities. Its aim is to direct investors to environmentally sustainable activities. The Climate Classification Delegated Act sets out the technical criteria for evaluating environmentally sustainable measures so that investors can determine which of the measures have already been implemented. The EU classification regulation is mainly aimed at ensuring that the 2030 climate target is met.

log in pro: For which Data center-Are the best practice recommendations of the EU climate classification regulation particularly important to operators?

Van der Pas: Large companies and investors in particular are required to disclose their involvement in climate classification activities. Companies that want to benefit from sustainable financial sources such as green bonds must also demonstrate their activities according to the classification.

  1. What the Green Deal means for data centers in the EU
  2. Aspects for data center operators

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