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The European Code of Conduct for Data Centres

Code of conduct for Data Centers

The following figures appear on the website of the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission and the Institute for Energy and Transportation, which launched the Code of Conduct for Data Centres in 2008: "Number of participants: 105. Number of endorsers: 228".

The immediate questions that probably spring to mind are what this is all about, what it might mean for your business and whether these figures are good or bad. Those are the questions I'll be answering in this article, but first I would like you to know up front that we are all part of the reason that the Code of Conduct for Data Centres exists at all. In early 2007 for the first time I held a smartphone in my hands; a colleague in the USA had one already. My words at the time are still ringing in my ears: "I don't think I need this." No doubt you can picture how the story ends and why we all "have a stake" in the large number of Data Centers which now exist all over the world.

The "Noughties" was the decade when new media and mobile telephony took an outright foothold in private life, and now we can't imagine it without them. This boom resulted in Data Centers being built very quickly, and operational efficiency was not always a consideration. Winter or summer, Data Centers need air conditioning around the clock. The flipside to this is that badly planned Data Centers consume a lot of energy and therefore have high CO2 emissions. This is not a good thing. Moreover, it's avoidable. At the time, there were Data Center operators and manufacturers already capable of producing efficient solutions. Given that this was the case, it would have benefited a great many people had someone gathered them around a table and established this as a subject area. The European Commission's Joint Research Commission has recognized this and defined a voluntary code of conduct for data center efficiency.

Can a voluntary code like the Code of Conduct for Data Centres change anything at all?

As far as I'm concerned the answer is a resounding Yes! The code is aimed at Data Center operators, experts, consultants and businesses as well as manufacturers, all of whom are a necessary source of the many and diverse products and services required to build a Data Center. The intent behind the code is that all the businesses involved should pay greater attention to reducing Data Center energy consumption and explore the options for designing or adapting new and existing centers for better efficiency. So those responsible for the code of conduct have developed a variety of measures and guidelines which are available to everyone. Best practice guidelines have also been defined and an award launched to highlight the most exemplary solutions. As a manufacturer of efficient climate systems for data centers, we are involved in the initiative. We're especially pleased that two of the data centers singled out by the latest awards have a STULZ solution that uses Indirect Free Cooling. This also singles us out as a company in terms of our activities and the many years we've spent investing in developing and building efficient cooling solutions.

The success of the code is also based precisely on the fact that it is voluntary rather than being handed down from on high, and will continue to develop going forward. Furthermore, regular meetings mean that participants and endorsers can proactively join the initiative and bring their ideas and practices to the table.

How was the code developed?

105 participants and 228 endorsers – a very positive level of engagement given that we are talking about a highly specialized industry. While the initiative was founded by the European Union, lots of multinationals have joined. Participants include IBM, Telecity Group, ebay, British Telecom, France Télécom, Microsoft, Level 3, Unilever and many others, with over 250 data centers now involved. In short, this represents a huge amount of Data Center space and means that a great deal of energy has already been saved. For the most part, the endorsers and associations taking part are also multinationals, which is generating positive synergies in the field. The whole initiative is having a major influence and supporting businesses that have signed up to fly the flag for sustainability and environmental responsibility.

If you'd like to join us, we'll be happy to tell you how.


About the author

Mladen Majstorovic is responsible for national and international PR for Hamburg-based air conditioning experts STULZ. After his business training in wholesale and international trade and studying for his Economics degree, he went on to gain many years' experience in a B2B communications agency as well as in industry. He joined STULZ GmbH in 2009, initially in Marketing, and took over responsibility for Public Relations in 2014.