Home Knowledge Adoption of EU Wide Scheme Rating the Sustainability of Data Centres

Adoption of EU Wide Scheme Rating the Sustainability of Data Centres

The European Commission has approved a new delegated regulation (Regulation) on the first phase for establishing an EU-wide scheme to rate the sustainability of EU data centres.

It forms part of the EU’s ‘Fit for 55’ legislative package which seeks to ensure energy efficiency in all relevant sectors and comprises the latest push under the new recast Energy Efficiency Directive, Directive (EU) 2023/1791, (EED). The Regulation which relates to ESG reporting requirements for data centres is directly applicable in Ireland. What do you need to know?

Background to the Regulation

  • The Regulation follows extensive consultation with EU Member States and stakeholders, a period for public feedback at the end of 2023 and a two-month scrutiny period by the Council and European Parliament.
  • The Regulation aims to increase transparency in EU energy use and potentially promote new designs and energy efficiency developments in new and existing data centres that reduce energy and water consumption, and also promote renewable energy use, increase grid efficiency, and use waste heat/oversupply in nearby facilities and heat networks. It also seeks to align with the promotion of climate neutrality actions set out in the EU Action Plan for the Digitalisation of the Energy Sector published in 2022.
  • The Regulation is the first of a series of delegated regulations which the Commission may adopt to supplement the recast EED in this area of data centre sustainability information reporting and rating.

Reporting on Key Performance Indicators

  • Under Article 12 of the recast EED, Member States will be obliged to require data centres to publish information on energy performance and sustainability. The European Commission is tasked with establishing an EU-level database containing this information.
  • The annexes to the Regulation detail the information that must be communicated to the European database by data centre operators. These range from information on installed information technology power demand, energy consumption, water usage, waste heat utilisation, the effectiveness of cooling, temperature set points, to the use of renewable energy of data centres, (including in the context of the size of the data centre).
  • Data centre operators will be obliged to monitor, gather and report prescribed information and key performance indicators set out in the Regulations to the European database by 15 September 2024, by 15 May 2025, and each subsequent year.
  • Certain information, listed in an annex to the Regulation, shall be publicly available only on an aggregated basis. The Commission and Member States are obliged to keep all information and key performance indicators for individual data centres communicated to the database confidential.

Sustainability Indicators and Rating

  • The Regulation also defines the first sustainability indicators and calculation methodologies that will be used for rating data centres and the information that will be publicly available, in an aggregated form, in the European database on data centres. These measure power usage effectiveness, water usage effectiveness, energy reuse factor and renewable energy factor.

When does the Regulation take effect in Ireland?

The Regulation is binding and directly applicable in all Member States, including Ireland and will take effect 20 days following its publication in the OJEU.

Contact Us

For more information or advice on the infrastructure, renewables, and construction contracts relating to the recent revisions to the Energy Efficiency Directive, including particularly on developments in sustainability reporting requirements for data centres, please contact Cassandra Byrne, Jarleth Heneghan, Liam McCabe, Fergus Devine or your usual William Fry contact.