Over 40 percent of data centre IT professionals are unaware of the recent EU 20-20-20 Renewable Energy Directive, although their firms still seem to be blindly working towards complying with it.

EU climate and energy targets aim to transform Europe into an energy-efficient, low carbon economy. The Directive supports targets that by 2020 there will be a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of at least 20 percent below 1990 levels, and that 20 percent of energy consumption will come from renewable resources.

In addition there should be a 20 percent reduction in primary energy use compared with projected levels.

Data centre energy efficiency company Emerson Network Power surveyed 340 data centre IT pros across Europe to test their awareness of the Directive and the actions they had taken to make their organisations more energy efficient.

To support the targets the European Commission released a voluntary Code of Conduct on Data Centre Energy Efficiency. The European Commission expects electricity consumed in data centres to contribute substantially to the electricity consumed in the European Union commercial sector in the near future.

Emerson found that 43 percent of respondents were unaware of the Directive and that only 21 percent had already taken actions to address the requirements of it - but the rest do have another eight years to do so.

Of those familiar with the requirements, 63 percent were "concerned" at the effect the Directive would have on their data centre operations.

But knowledge of the targets had influenced nearly three in five IT professionals (57 percent) to procure more energy efficient IT equipment. Almost three quarters (72 percent) said energy efficiency was one of, or the most important consideration when purchasing data centre equipment.

Interestingly, said Emerson, the challenge posed by these targets has not prompted many to consider moving their data centres to countries with fewer restrictions - just 3 percent have implemented such a strategy.

Over a quarter of the businesses surveyed had company-wide green initiatives in place.

Emiliano Cevenini, vice president of power sales at Emerson Network Power EMEA, said: “Despite the deadline still being eight years away IT professionals have to act now. We can already see how these targets are compelling organisations to change the way they work and buy IT equipment."