Back in February, the European Commission became involved in datacentre energy use. It decided it wanted to see if a voluntary code of conduct could be created and, as is the EU way, acronyms, Renewable Energies units, and what not sprang into action. What has been achieved and what is the status of the activity?

There have been two meetings and their minutes and participant's PowerPoint decks can be found here.

Initial Meeting

The first meeting was in London on March 1st, 2007, and it was held by the Renewable Energies Unit of the Commission's Joint Research Center (JRC). The chief EC bureaucrat present and the driver of the meeting was Paolo Bertoldi, a program manager, and principal administrator of the JRC from May, 2001, onwards.

The UK government representative was Robin Murray. He took away one action from the meeting and Bertoldi took away the most of the others, confirming his driving role.

There were various representatives who included ones from the Green Grid (Christian Belady of HP) and the US EPA's Energy Star programme.

Basically, it was a discovery meeting scoping out the problem area and understanding relevant initiatives and their applicability and limitations, such as the Green Grid - highly relevant and applicable - and Energy Star - only applicable to PCs for now but server work is being done.

Belady's presentation was very informative and concise and made points about datacentre efficiency metrics.

Patrick Fogarty of Norman Disney & Young, consulting engineers, made some interesting points:-

- We are at present not a single industry – we are a collection of separate interest groups
- We need to identify key areas where the “Green” solution is the right solution ... And educate the Government in the process
- If we as an industry don’t lead the process we will be dragged to a unacceptable position

The ironic thing here is that the meeting and the initiative are being driven by a 'government', the European Commission.

However, this is a good thing because market forces, the meeting agreed, won't solve the datacentre power efficiency problem on their own. The value of energy savings to society is greater than the value to the customer. Help is needed to realise the potential societal benefit.

The meeting closed with the decision to continue work on developing an EU code of conduct. The actions include the proposal of working groups, prepare a problem statement and organise the next meeting.