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TC 9.9 Data Center Environmental Guidelines Incorporated in EU Regulation

TC 9.9 Data Center Environmental Guidelines Incorporated in EU Regulation

From HVAC&R Industry Newsletter, Dec. 13, 2018

Technical Committee 9.9 (Mission Critical Facilities, Data Centers, Technology Spaces & Electronic Equipment) continues to provide information through various channels (ASHRAE chapters, conferences, etc.) in countries around the world on the design and operation of energy efficient data centers and IT equipment. Recently TC 9.9 was requested to review and provide input on an European Union (EU) Regulation for servers and data storage products. Based on TC 9.9’s input there is consistency in guidelines between North America and the EU, which otherwise would have been at risk and would have created serious ambiguity across the information technology and data centre communities.

The final version of the Ecodesign Regulation for servers and data storage products was approved at the September 2018 Regulatory Committee meeting of the European Commission on Ecodesign and Energy Labelling of IT Equipment. Ecodesign refers to the integration of environmental aspects into product design with the aim of improving the environmental performance of the product throughout its whole life cycle.

The regulation will have important and broad reach throughout Europe for the design and operation of IT hardware in the future. An EU regulation is a binding legislative act. It must be applied in its entirety across the EU. However, it is up to the individual countries to devise their own laws on how to reach these goals. Portions of the regulation will take effect on March 1, 2020 with the final items being implemented on Jan. 1, 2023.

According to Paul Finch, COO of Kao Data, London, and TC 9.9 member, the publication of this EU regulation is very significant for the data center industry and for ASHRAE, where TC 9.9 Environmental Classes are now defined within a Regulation, meaning that they are no longer just considered guidelines.

The regulation has three main areas of focus on IT equipment design:

  1. Minimum PSU (power supply unit) efficiency and power factor requirements
  2. Manufacturers requirements that ensure that joining, fastening or sealing techniques do not prevent the disassembly for repair or reuse purposes
  3. Idle state power and active power efficiency requirements for servers with one or two processor sockets and for some of its key components; and a number of data sets that manufacturers will need to provide to verify compliance

As part of this regulation IT manufacturers will be required to declare the environmental class of their product according to the ASHRAE Environmental Classes for IT equipment created by TC 9.9: This will be required as part of item 3 –power efficiency requirements—mentioned above.  The table of the ASHRAE Environmental Classes for IT equipment is displayed in the regulation along with this requirement:

      …declared operating condition class, as detailed in Table 6 (ASHRAE Environmental Classes); it shall also be indicated that         'This product has been tested in order to verify that it will function within the boundaries (such as temperature and humidity) of          the declared operating condition class';

The EU Committee carried out this work pursuant to Directive 2009/125/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 establishing a framework for the setting of Ecodesign requirements for energy-related products.  

The ASHRAE Thermal Guidelines for IT Equipment that includes the Environmental Classes is an important Datacom book that provides environmental characteristics for data center operators to follow in achieving a data center that is energy efficient.

ASHRAE TC 9.9 described the environmental classes from its Thermal Guidelines for Data Processing Environments to representatives of the EU Commission in 2015.ASHRAE TC 9.9 described the environmental classes from its Thermal Guidelines for
Data Processing Environments to representatives of the EU Commission in 2015.

Since this EU regulation was just released, Roger Schmidt, TC9.9 Chair of the IT manufacturers committee, states that it will take time for IT manufacturers and data center operators to absorb all the new requirements but we can be assured that the environment established by ASHRAE TC 9.9 will be followed for data centers throughout the EU.

The full report can be obtained from the EU Commission website: