Servers are used to process and store digital information in large quantities. With the explosion of digital content and internet traffic, their number is rapidly increasing, as is their total energy consumption.
According to studies, professional servers, storage and network equipment require approximately 95 TWh/year of electricity in the EU (including the cooling of data centres), which is close to the entire electricity consumption of the Netherlands.
Studies also reveal many energy saving opportunities, from improving the efficiency of the electronics and power supplies to applying higher inlet temperature, powering down unused servers, and optimising the use of installed ones.
What’s the European Union doing?
Following the 2015 preparatory study, the EU adopted an ecodesign regulation for enterprise servers in 2019, with stages of energy efficiency requirements entering into force in 2020 and 2023. The regulation also includes requirements to facilitate the recycling of these products.
This measure is expected to save about 9 TWh/year of electricity by 2030, as much as the total electricity consumption of Estonia.
What does the Coolproducts campaign want?
Complementary to the ecodesign regulation (setting minimum requirements), an energy label would bring much more transparency to the market, and guide professional consumers towards servers which best fit their needs.
Additional measures are also needed to avoid the current mushrooming of servers (e.g. support to more rational digital uses, best practice guides for server optimisation, ecodesign approaches in digital services, etc.), as well as building regulations to ensure more efficient cooling and heat recovery systems in data centres.
Coolproducts technical input and position papers:
NRDC report on data centers (2014): http://www.nrdc.org/energy/files/data-center-efficiency-assessment-IP.pdf