21 Feb 17

New Ecodesign proposals for servers a step in the right direction, NGOs say

Brussels, 20 February 2017

NGOs welcome the European Commission’s proposals for greener enterprise servers presented on 17 February, but call for more ambitious requirements to increase energy performance.

For the first time, the Commission put forward ambitious resource efficiency requirements aimed at enhancing reuse and recycling of servers. Proposals include the provision of tools to automatically delete old data, and firmware updates. The Commission also requires key components to be more accessible thanks to reversible joining techniques (as opposed to i.e. welding and firm gluing), as well as more transparent information to recycle critical raw materials.

The proposals also set a minimum level of power supply efficiency and power factors for servers and data storage products, as well as a cap on idle mode power consumption for servers. According to the Commission, these measures alone will trigger 8.9 TWh electricity savings by 2030 – the equivalent of the residential electricity consumption of Ireland.

But energy efficiency measures could still be improved, campaigners said. The Commission must increase the stringency levels on idle power, and push manufacturers to design servers that are able to operate in higher temperatures – therefore requiring less energy for cooling.

Chloé Fayole of the Coolproducts campaign said:

With the explosion of digital content and internet traffic, Europe needs to look closely at the environmental impact of the ICT sector. The Ecodesign proposals for servers are a step in the right direction. The European Commission and Member States must now maintain ambition on resource efficiency and take energy efficiency a step further, despite the reluctance of industry.



Chloé Fayole, Policy Officer Ecodesign, ECOS

[email protected],  +43 660 22 94 164

Mauro Anastasio, Communications Officer, European Environmental Bureau

[email protected] – +32 (0) 2 274 10 87


Notes to editors

  • Servers, storage and network equipment currently consume 2% of total electricity in the EU, or 53 Terrawatt hours (TWh) per year – 105 TWh, if the infrastructure (i.e. cooling demand) is taken into account. Ordering better performance of these products will help temper the growing energy demand from data centers, since slightly more than 50% of the electricity consumption related to data centers is due to direct energy consumption of ICT equipment (servers, data storage products, networking equipment).

  • Research by the US Natural Resources Defence Council recently concluded that up to 30 percent of servers in data centres are unused but still powered on and drawing electricity 24/7. Many others are significantly underutilised, with average utilisation levels around 12 percent. Reducing the unnecessary electricity consumed by servers doing little or no work, and the energy used to cool them, is by far the largest opportunity for energy savings in data centers.

  • The draft proposals could be submitted to the vote of Member States by the end of the year.