Amsterdam Data Centers Threatened with Fine if Wasting Energy

“As a data center sector we take our responsibility in the field of sustainability,” said Stijn Grove, Managing Director at Dutch Data Center Association. “With this initiative we want to make an effort to inform our customers, who own the servers, about the further energy efficiency possibilities of their computing equipment.”

The city of Amsterdam will examine data centers for energy efficiency. Since 2019, certain data centers have been legally compelled to preserve energy by putting idle servers in energy-saving mode, according to the municipality. Those who do not comply with the obligation can expect a penalty payment.

By 2023, all data centers in the Netherlands will be required to turn off idle servers. This should result in a ten to fifteen percent reduction in energy use. An attempt was made last year by the Amsterdam government body to achieve an agreement with the data center industry on a phased transition to the requirement, but it didn’t work out.

As a result, the Amsterdam government has ordered policy enforcement on wasteful energy usage among data center operators. They will aim for cooperation with other government bodies across the Netherlands to achieve likewise enforcement.

Dutch Data Center Association, NLdigital

Photo Lotte de Bruijn, Director at Dutch industry organization NLdigital
“Through this initiative, the entire chain of hardware and software suppliers, IT administrators and data centers will work together to use energy for digital services even more efficiently, on the way to a climate-neutral digital sector,” said Lotte de Bruijn, Director at Dutch industry organization NLdigital.

Two days after data centers in Amsterdam were threatened with fines if not cooperating, Dutch trade associations Dutch Data Center Association (DDA) and NLdigital announced a joint sector initiative on reducing the energy consumption of servers installed in data centers. The national initiative aims to improve the energy efficiency of servers by reminding data center colocation clients of the legal obligation to use optimal power management settings.

The industry organizations and their supporters see the move to more efficient server settings as a logical addition to the many energy-saving measures that data centers have been taking for years on their own cooling and electricity distribution systems.

“As a data center sector we take our responsibility in the field of sustainability,” said Stijn Grove, Managing Director at Dutch Data Center Association. “With this initiative we want to make an effort to inform our customers, who own the servers, about the further energy efficiency possibilities of their computing equipment.”

“Through this initiative, the entire chain of hardware and software suppliers, IT administrators and data centers will work together to use energy for digital services even more efficiently, on the way to a climate-neutral digital sector,” added Lotte de Bruijn, Director at NLdigital.

The optimization of power management settings on servers is a measure on the Accredited Measures List for data centers. However, only the owner of the server is in a position to take the measure. After two years of consultation with the government, the sector has drawn up a guide that will soon be available on the website of the Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland (RVO). Through this initiative, data centers intend to break this deadlock.

‘Revision of Legislation’

Photo Stijn Grove, Managing Director at Dutch Data Center Association
“With this initiative we want to make an effort to inform our customers, who own the servers, about the further energy efficiency possibilities of their computing equipment,” said Stijn Grove, Managing Director at Dutch Data Center Association.

Data centers affiliated with the initiative will individually alert their customers to the need to take these measures. They will also ask their clients to sign an Energy Efficiency Declaration (EEV). In this EEV, the customer indicates that he/she is aware of this measure, takes stock of the settings and adjusts them where necessary.

The industry organizations furthermore call for new servers to be set to balanced mode immediately upon installation and would like to see all server manufacturers and ICT service providers deliver and install their new equipment in these optimal energy settings by default. For configuration to balanced mode, the ‘happyflow manual’ of the LEAP program can be consulted on the website of RVO.

Also, the current legislation currently would provide limited clarity on what is expected of the owner and manager of the equipment, and what is expected of the data center. The industry organizations therefore advocate for a fundamental revision of the legislation, whereby the owner and manager of the servers can be held directly accountable for the energy-saving measures that must be taken.

The following organizations are signing on to the initiative, among others:

  • Bytesnet
  • Data Center Fryslân
  • Datacenter Almere
  • Datacenter Groningen
  • Dataplace
  • Equinix
  • FCA
  • Global-e Datacenters
  • Digital Realty – Interxion Nederland
  • Interconnect
  • Iron Mountain Data Centers
  • NorthC Datacenters
  • Serverius
  • Switch Datacenters
  • Systemec

“Where technology and innovation give us the opportunity to contribute to sustainability in a relatively simple way, we will not miss out on any opportunity,” said Rob Stevens, co-owner and director of Interconnect. “Current energy prices are an extra argument to actively inform our clients about the possibilities that equipment offers.”

“We are working on many fronts to facilitate digital innovation in a sustainable way,” said Jan-Joris van Dijk, Managing Director at Bytesnet who is also positive about the initiative. “We see energy saving using power management as a welcome addition to help our clients improve in terms of sustainability.”