The German Federal Environment Agency (UBA), together with experts, revised the criteria for data centres eligible to be awarded the Blue Angel label last year, which the Environmental Label Jury, the independent decision-making body for the Blue Angel label, has adopted. While the basic concept was maintained, new requirements were added. The UBA estimates that capital costs required to meet the new criteria will be recouped in an average of two years.
Data centres are real energy hogs – in Europe, they account for about around 33 percent of the electricity of the entire information and communication technology. Data centres with the new Blue Angel ‘guarantee’ the lowest possible use of hardware and energy. They can thus be particularly cost-effective, resource-efficient and climate-friendly to operate, “Maria Krautzberger, President of the Federal Environment Agency (UBA).
Everyday we create more and more data worldwide; in just the last twenty years, the amount of data being transferred and stored has increased by about a thousand fold. As this continues to grow, it is important to ensure the processes surrounding the phenomenon are environmentally friendly.
While much of the changes to the criteria for data centres to qualify for the Blue Angel label revolve around energy efficiency, cooling of data centres is also quite important. In light of the revised EU F-Gas Regulation, the Blue Angel will require that data centre cooling systems must either use natural refrigerants such as carbon dioxide or not require refrigerant, such as heat exchangers. Data centres of smaller scale that have a cooling requirement of less than 50 kW are exempt from the new provisions.
Data centres can be certified immediately under the new criteria, and no later than 1 January 2016, all data centres bearing a Blue Angel must comply.
About the label
The “Blauer Engel” is a label created in 1978 and organised by the federal government of Germany designed to help consumers identify environmentally friendly products and services. Criteria are developed for each individual product group and are reviewed every three to four years by Federal Environmental Agency to reflect technological advances and drive companies to constantly improve the environmental-friendliness of their products over time. The label serves as a market-based, voluntary instrument of environmental policy.