CRC Scheme Triggers Rise In Data Centre Energy Management


A survey suggests that the CRC legislation is responsible for an increase in data centre energy management policies

The government’s Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) legislation is apparently responsible for a rise in the use of energy management policies at UK data centres.

So said a survey carried out by the organisers of the Data Centre World 2012 conference. It surveyed 6,000 IT decision makers who operate or plan to operate a data centre, as well as third party data centre operators.

The researchers found that almost three-quarters (71 percent) of data centres in the UK now have energy management policies in place.

CRC Driver

The CRC energy efficiency scheme came into force in 2010, and the research showed that at the time the number of data centre operators adopting energy management policies leapt 300 percent when compared to the rate of adoption for each of the previous three years.

The research also pointed out that before CRC came into being in 2010, only 27 percent of UK data centres had deployed energy management policies. This figure rose dramatically to 57 percent in 2010 and peaked at 71 percent in 2011.

“2010 saw by far the biggest increase in energy management policy adoption rates, over three times that of the previous year,” said John Hatcher, the conference director of Data Centre World, and he believes that much of this rise is down to the government’s CRC legislation.

“In fact, going back four years ago, just 10 percent had an energy management policy in place. Today that figure stands at 71 percent,” Hatcher said.

The survey backs the link between the CRC and the increase in data centre energy management policies after it found that almost half (44 percent) of those surveyed believed that the introduction of the government’s CRC legislation had led directly to greater efficiency in their data centre.

Energy Efficiency

The research also highlighted some other interesting side effects as UK data centres are embracing green technologies.

It found, for example, 71 percent have replaced inefficient equipment, and that 67 percent have optimised cooling and airflow. A further 61 percent have implemented server virtualisation.

Last month, Data Centre World warned that most data centres in the UK will not be cutting their energy use in 2012. In fact, three-quarters (76 percent) will be using more electricity, despite the pressure from rising energy costs and green taxes such as the CRC.

Outside the data centre world, it seems that CRC still remains a tricky issue for many businesses. A survey by Epicor Software last month found that 80 percent of companies do not monitor their carbon footprint regularly, and less than a quarter could accurately describe what carbon accounting is.

Unpopular CRC

It seems that the CRC remains unpopular with the majority of British businesses, which view it as something of a ‘stealth tax‘.

Last April, for example, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) slammed the scheme as adding to the cost of business. It said it believed the scheme “lacks credibility and has lost businesses’ trust” and should be scrapped.

Despite this, official figures show that the vast majority (95 percent) of large businesses in the UK that are subject to the CRC legislation are now complying with it.

An organisation must register for the scheme if it used at least 6,000 MWh (MegaWatt hours) of half-hourly electricity during 2008, equivalent to an annual electricity bill of about £500,000. Organisations will start to be charged for their carbon output in fiscal year 2011/12.

Data Centre World 2012 will take place between 29 February and 1 March at the Olympia exhibition centre in London.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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