Europe’s Plan for More Energy Efficient Data Centers

24 Jul 2023 by Colocation

Europe is currently leading the world in terms of energy-efficient data centers, setting a high standard for other regions to emulate. By 2030, it's projected that data centers will account for 3.2 percent of electricity demand within the EU, marking an 18.5 percent increase from 2018.  

However, the continent is not taking this lightly. The European Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) mandates that data centers with an installed IT power demand of at least 100 kilowatts publicly report their energy usage, demonstrating transparency and commitment to sustainability.  

Furthermore, Europe is advocating for data centers to become more energy-efficient, encouraging the reuse of waste energy such as heat and promoting the use of renewable energy sources. As a result, the digital transformation in Europe is not just about technological advancement but is also paving the way for a sustainable future.  

The new plan that has just emerged will drive significant changes to how companies manage their data centers, and the potential savings are huge! In this blog post we’ll take a look at what’s being proposed, why it matters to businesses, and how best they can capture the opportunities presented here. 

Energy Efficiency Mandates 

The European Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) has profoundly impacted energy efficiency in modern data centers across Europe. This directive, which affects all but the smallest of European data centers, has brought about widespread changes and has set a new standard in data center colocation operations.  

Its introduction has stimulated enterprise data centers to reduce energy consumption without hampering their mission, leading to more cost-effective and sustainable operations. The directive's reiteration has further introduced new, stricter reporting requirements, ensuring transparency and compliance.  

Moreover, the EED's influence has reached beyond just regulations; it has also encouraged a shift in mindset towards greater sustainability in the tech industry. As such, the EED has been instrumental in driving improvements in data center energy efficiency across Europe. 

The rapid pace of digital transformation and the growing demand for IT services are reshaping the energy landscape. Data centers, the powerhouses of the digital age, are expected to account for 3.2 percent of electricity demand within the European Union by 2030. This projection represents a significant surge of 18.5 percent from the levels recorded in 2018.  

Colocation services are important for keeping, working with, and sending information. This is very useful in our modern world. Technology like cloud computing, big data, and artificial intelligence are making these centers use more energy. That is why the energy use of data centers has gone up. 

This trend underscores the importance of developing more energy-efficient data centers to balance the benefits of colocation facilities with environmental sustainability. 

Strategies for Hitting Benchmarks 

There is an ongoing need for data center design to become more energy efficient. Every data center facility should strive to use their energy as efficiently as possible. Below are some tried and true methods for making data center more sustainable and energy efficient. 

Reuse Waste Energy  

Data centers use a lot of energy. Some of this energy is wasted as heat. But we can use the heat to help make data centers more efficient and save energy. 

Data centers can use the heat created by their servers for other purposes. For example, it can be used to heat a space, provide hot water, or cool down an area. Not only does this approach reduce the overall energy demand of the facility, but it also mitigates environmental impact by decreasing the reliance on conventional energy sources. 

Therefore, reusing waste heat represents a sustainable and cost-effective strategy for enhancing the energy efficiency of data centers. 

Utilize renewable energy 

Data centers can incorporate renewable energy strategies into their daily operations to enhance energy efficiency and reduce carbon footprint.  

One viable strategy is the integration of solar panels or wind turbines to generate electricity. This not only provides an environmentally friendly power source but also reduces reliance on non-renewable energy sources. Data centers can use cooling methods that use natural resources like air or water to help keep them cool. This can save energy and make the cooling system more efficient. 

Employing energy-efficient servers, storage devices, and network equipment can further optimize power usage. Implementing energy management systems can help monitor and control energy use in real-time, enabling data centers to identify inefficiencies and make necessary adjustments.  

By adopting these renewable energy strategies, data centers can improve their energy utilization, lower operating costs, and contribute to environmental sustainability. 

Carbon-neutral Initiatives  

Data centers can realistically implement various strategies to become carbon neutral. Firstly, they can enhance energy efficiency by modernizing their infrastructure and eliminating underused or obsolete systems. This reduces the amount of energy needed to power and cool their IT equipment, thereby lowering carbon emissions.  

Secondly, data centers can partner with renewable energy providers to ensure their electricity demand is met by 100% renewable energy sources. Another effective strategy is to utilize natural cooling methods or reuse waste energy, such as heat, to further reduce energy consumption. Renovating existing structures can also significantly reduce the embodied carbon in building a new data center. 

Data centers should actively report their environmental impact to maintain transparency and continually find ways to improve their sustainability efforts. By implementing these strategies, data centers can work towards achieving carbon neutrality. 

Closing Thoughts 

An increasing focus is being placed on efforts to elevate the average PUE of data centers located in enterprise locations across Europe, aiming to enhance efficiency. This need for change is indicated by a study conducted recently, which revealed the figure to be 2.1. This statistic demonstrates there are opportunities for optimization.  

Changes and improvements are necessary to meet higher predictions and standards. Ultimately this will work towards reducing energy wastage and advancing the realm of energy usage within data center systems in Europe.  

Author Colocation provides consulting and engineering support around colocation and has developed a platform for Datacenter Colocation providers to compete for your business. It takes just 2-3 minutes to create and submit a customized colocation RFP that will automatically engage you and your business with the industry leading datacenter providers in the world. provides a platform to view and research all the datacenter locations and compare and analyze the different attributes of each datacenter. Check out our Colocation Marketplace to view pricing from top colocation providers.  


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