Capgemini wins European Commission's datacentre energy efficiency award

Innovation and energy efficiency at Capgemini's Merlin datacentre in Swindon has won the 2013 EU Code of Conduct for Datacentres award

The European Commission has honoured Capgemini UK with the 2013 EU Code of Conduct for Datacentres award for datacentre innovation and energy efficiency. 

The IT services company’s Merlin datacentre in Swindon (pictured) which has a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) rating of 1.2 won the top award.

The EU Code of Conduct for Datacentres was created in 2008 following concerns over the large and fast-growing consumption of electricity by the datacentre sector as a result of increasing computer use and online activity worldwide.

Between 2011 and 2012 alone, power requirements grew by 63% globally to 38GW (gigawatts), up from 24GW in 2011, according to the DatacenterDynamics 2012 Global Census on datacentre trends.

In the UK alone, datacentre power needs have reached 2.85GW, of which 650MW (megawatts) is outsourced.

The EU datacentre code is a voluntary initiative aimed at reducing the environmental, economic, and energy-supply security impact of datacentres. It focuses on two primary areas – the IT load (IT capacity available for the power consumed) and facilities load (equipment and systems that support the IT load, such as cooling systems and UPSs).

Energy efficiency features in Capgemini’s Merlin datacentre

Capgemini aims to improve energy efficiency in its datacentres by more than 20% by 2014.

Its Merlin datacentre facility features an independently verified PUE rating of 1.2; a climate control system which continuously monitors hot and cold air flows to enable constant peak operational efficiency at minimal energy usage; and the use of computational fluid dynamics at the design stage to plan and control every aspect of the air path.

Among the innovating IT cooling features at the facility are the uses of modular datacentres that give it a lower carbon footprint and permit fast and simple scalability with minimum environmental impact. It also includes the use of three-stage air optimisers that use primary free-air cooling, second-stage evaporative cooling and third-stage direct expansion cooling.

Capgemini’s IT staff have also started applying the Merlin datacentre technology and strategy to its new and existing facilities in the UK and globally, to spread the environmental and efficiency benefits on a worldwide scale.

“Issues such as energy efficiency are increasingly seen as critical by our clients, employees and local communities, so that awards such as today's are of the highest importance,” said Paul Soutter, CEO of Capgemini UK Infrastructure Services.

The company’s IT facilities have won other green IT credentials such as an ISO-14001 certification for its environmental management system, a listing for three years running in the Sunday Times Best 60 Green Companies, and platinum status in the Corporate Responsibility Index published by Business in the Community.

The Environment Agency’s head of corporate information services,Chris Howes, said: “We’re proud to be associated with the Merlin datacentre, where a growing number of our own services are sustainably and securely hosted. Energy efficient datacentres are a vital part of mitigating the carbon cost of IT. Capgemini’s success is a great example, to anyone providing IT services, of how to improve the energy efficiency of datacentres.”

In addition to the EU code, the European Commission (EC) set out a directive in 2007 to ensure EU countries meet ambitious climate and energy targets by 2020. Known as the "20-20-20" targets, it sets three key objectives for datacentres by 2020 - a 20% reduction in EU greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels; increasing the use of renewable energy sources to 20%; and improving energy efficiency in EU countries by 20%.

But recent research showed that only 21% of European datacentre managers have taken actions to address the 20-20-20 directive.

Read more on Datacentre energy efficiency and green IT