A new reporting scheme for European data centers that aims to help track their sustainability efforts has been adopted by the European Commission.

The Data Centers in Europe reporting program, introduced via a delegated regulation, is part of the European Energy Efficiency Directive (EEED), which aims to reduce energy use and cut carbon emissions across Europe.

European Commission
The European Commission has approved a data center emissions reporting scheme – dimitrisvetsikas1969 / 15115 images

It applies to all data centers larger than 500kW, and will require operators to report factors such as floor area, installed power, data volumes, energy consumption, PUE, temperature set points, waste heat utilization, water usage, and use of renewable energy.

The text of the delegated regulation says that the reporting information should be sent to a central database, where it will be used to “provide a basis for transparent and evidence-based planning and decision making by member states and the Commission" and “assess certain key elements of a sustainable data center."

The first deadline for the reporting scheme had initially been set for 15 May 2024, but this has been pushed back to 15 September 2024, before reverting to 15 May in future years. Operators will be expected to provide data covering the year preceding the reporting data.

It appears the Commission has moved the first reporting date back following concerns from the industry that the turnaround time between the adoption of the scheme and the first deadline was too short. CISPE, an association representing European cloud companies, was one industry group that questioned the May 15 deadline, saying in its consultation response: “CISPE members are concerned with an unrealistically short timeline to prepare for the first reporting cycle and consequently to measure and report the data.

“With the delay of the overall process of introducing the delegated regulation and inclusion of additional reporting requirements that were not previously presented for analysis, we consider that the industry is not provided with sufficient time to prepare adequately."

The electricity demand of data centers in Europe is expected to be at 3.2 percent of the EU total by 2030, a 28 percent increase since 2018 according to a 2021 EU research paper entitled 2030 Digital Compass: the European way for the Digital Decade.

It is hoped the EEED will help cut overall energy use in Europe by 11.7 percent by 2030, as the continent strives to meet its European Green Deal goal of a 55 percent cut in carbon emissions by that same date.