The European Commission is minded to develop Green Public Procurement criteria for data centres. The objective is to ensure that public bodies can confidently buy sustainable services and secondly to use public sector buying power to drive the market towards better environmental performance. Proposing criteria for such a complex and fast moving sector is inevitably fraught with difficulty; nevertheless the stakeholder meeting on 16th November was civilised, well managed and productive. The proposals were discussed in detail. Some are basic requirements that must be met by all bidders, others are award criteria that will gain extra points in the bidding process.
We were uncomfortable about the focus on renewable power purchasing, heat reuse, life cycle assessment, or on PUE as an efficiency metric, which in truth it is not. We compiled a response that identified general issues with the proposals and then dealt with each of the criteria in detail. These were submitted via the BATIS website, a Krypton Factor type process of extreme user-unfriendliness, and also directly to the relevant policy team at JRC.
Our main concern was the strong suspicion that a procurement process could tick all the required and award criteria boxes and still deliver a hopelessly inefficient data centre solution. This is because there is no scope for right sizing and no qualitative assessment of whether the approach is appropriate. The relevant documents should still be available here: http://susproc.jrc.ec.europa.eu/Data_Centres/documents.html and are also on the Commission’s BATIS website.
If you would like to read our response it is below.