The code isn’t about the conduct of data centres – stopping them drinking and swearing in public, that kind of thing – but about energy efficiency.
Under the code, data centre owners and operators are invited to voluntarily sign up to have the energy efficiency of their operations measured and agree to an action plan and an annual progress report to the EU.
There’s even a calculation the EU has come up with for data centre infrastructure efficiency (DCiE), which is:
Main IT equipment energy consumption divided by total facility energy consumption, which is then multiplied by 100 per cent to give DCiE.
You can read more detail from the actual Code of Conduct itself here, which goes into more depth about what will be measured and ways that data centre energy efficiency can be improved.
But what will this grandiose sounding data centre code of conduct actually do? Not much, in Greenbang’s opinion.
The problems are:
- This is voluntary. The code and any action recommended are voluntary to sign up to and not legally binding. Participants can also leave it at any stage without penalty.
- Companies signing up to the code get to set the coverage (defining the data centres, building, sites at which energy efficiency actions will be undertaken) and nature (specifying the actions that the enterprise proposes to carry out at each location) of its commitment.
- Vendors will use ‘signing up’ to the code of conduct as a green marketing tool, without it actually meaning they’ve had to make any great changes to the way they run their data centre operations.
- With the pace that both IT and green technology changes it will be extremely difficult for the EU to maintain accurate or meaningful benchmarking and best practice data.
That hasn’t stopped politicians jumping on the bandwagon, with Lord Hunt, Minister for Sustainable Development and Energy Innovation, calling for data centre operators to adopt the code, saying:
“If we are to tackle dangerous climate change, we need to reduce emissions and the decision businesses make play a key role in meeting this challenge. By signing up to this new code of conduct companies can save energy and save money too, which goes to show that what’s good for the environment is good for business.”