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UK Climate Change Agreement calls for accurate reporting to show energy savings

As of 1st July, 2014, the UK’s Climate Change Agreement (CCA) came into effect with increased importance placed on the use of a DCIM (Data Centre Infrastructure Management) solution to achieve effective monitoring of energy use and drive continual improvements in energy efficiency.

What is a Climate Change Agreement?

Climate Change Agreements offer discounts and, in some cases, complete exclusion from paying certain taxes, such as the Climate Change Levy (CCL) and the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC). The agreements define energy efficiency targets that are negotiated between government and energy intensive sectors.

The general concept of Climate Change Agreements has been running since 2001 and already covers about 50 sectors – it has been shown to deliver greater energy savings than conventional policy measures.

Climate Change Agreements accommodate growth by focusing on efficiency rather than net reductions in energy use. Sectors such as data centres are particularly well suited to this approach as they are not only energy intensive, but are fast growing and vulnerable to overseas competition.

What are the benefits of the UK Climate Change Agreement?

Achieving the UK Climate Change Agreement for data centres could equate to saving 1.35p per KWh of electricity. That is if you pay both CCL and CRC carbon taxes, you could save about £10 per tonne of carbon for CCL and £16 per tonne of carbon for CRC.

Why is a DCIM solution important to the UK Climate Change Agreement?

To be eligible for the UK Climate Change Agreement, data centre owners need to be able to evidence a 15% improvement in PUE (Power usage effectiveness) by 2020.

DCIM tools are vital in providing data centre managers with the ability to accurately monitor PUE as well as other useful metrics. The CCA requires participating data centres to measure their IT power usage as well as the associated overheads of cooling, lighting and power distribution in order to calculate a PUE figure.

A good DCIM tool also provides detailed information as to where efficiencies can be made, not only in power and cooling, but also in the effective use of IT systems. Paradoxically, while reducing the power used for cooling the data centre can reduce the PUE, optimising the power used by the IT equipment (via virtualisation or rationalisation) will increase the PUE if the former remains constant.

This demonstrates how important it is for data centres to make continuous improvements on both fronts, or at least ensure that the cooling overhead continues to reduce relative to improvements in the IT power usage, in order to ensure corresponding reductions in PUE in line with the CCA.  

Is my data centre eligible?

Spaces used for in-house servers that provide corporate IT function are ineligible, but data centre businesses providing colocation space (both wholesale and retail) are eligible.

The UK Climate Change Agreement for data centres is now in effect and data centres can register for the scheme before the Sector Agreement is signed by techUK. Each participant will then sign their Underlying Agreement and for them the scheme starts on the day they submit that signed Agreement.

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