EU considers datacentre energy use code

The European Commission is considering introducing a voluntary code of conduct on energy efficiency for datacentre operators.

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The European Commission is considering introducing a voluntary code of conduct on energy efficiency for datacentre operators.

Next week, renewable energies unit the of the Commission's joint research centre will meet in London to discuss the idea.

If adopted, a code of conduct would be voluntary, said a spokesperson for the commission’s science and research unit. Organisations that adopted the code would agree to abide by certain principles or standards, she said.

The London meeting will include a session on the technical capabilities for reducing datacentre energy use and what a code of conduct -- if one is to be adopted -- should include. Participants will include hardware manufacturers, including Intel, datacentre designers and datacentre operators.

Kevin Fisher, Intel's standards and regulations manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said the commission had made few regulations about computer energy consumption.

Environmental agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol, which placed limits on greenhouse gas emissions, were driving government interest in reducing energy consumption, Fisher said. Enterprises were also interested in reducing utility costs.

The US Environmental Protection Agency's energy star programme is used internationally as a specification for energy-efficient desktop computers, but the specification does not address servers.

Part of the problem is a lack of metrics for establishing efficient server power consumption, although several efforts are under way, Fisher said.

The Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation, a US not-for-profit group, is developing a first-generation benchmark for evaluating the energy efficiency of servers. The benchmark will measure energy use in conjunction with performance metrics.

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