The EU Member States have approved a revised set of ecodesign requirements for computer servers and data storage products. The European Commission’s draft requirements circulated in the Spring 2018 had a strong negative reaction from industry due to the emphasis on low idle power requirements when the server is operating at a low utilization level. Industry raised concerns about the proposal indicating that the low idle focus would prevent some servers that have high energy efficiency at high utilization levels from being sold in Europe. Although data center statistics have shown that many servers operate at very utilization, the trend is to virtualize applications onto a hosting server that runs multiple applications and is optimized to operate at a higher CPU utilization (typically 65-90%). The revised draft regulation is available on the Europa website.
Indications were that the Commission had compromised of a blended requirement that is based on a combination of idle power and active power efficiency; however, the efficiency requirement in the updated draft regulation appears to be the same as the earlier WTO TBT notification. ECD Compliance is investigating to get additional information.
The scope of the implementing measure hasn’t changed from the earlier proposal.
- This Regulation establishes ecodesign requirements for placing on the market and putting into service of servers and online data storage products.
- This Regulation shall not apply to the following products:
- servers intended for embedded applications;
- servers classified as small scale servers in terms of Regulation (EU) No 617/2013;
- servers with more than four processor sockets;
- server appliances;
- large servers;
- fully fault tolerant servers;
- network servers;
- small data storage products;
- large data storage products.
Ecodesign requirements and timetable
Article 3 of the regulation specifies when specific technical requirements (in the Annex) come into effect.
- The ecodesign requirements for servers and online data storage products are set out in Annex II.
- From 1 March 2020 servers shall comply with the ecodesign requirements set out in Annex II points 1.1.1, 1.2.1, 1.2.2, 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 3.3 and 3.4.
- From 1 March 2020 online data storage products shall comply with the ecodesign requirements set out in Annex II points 1.1.1, 1.2.1, 1.2.2, 3.2, 3.3 and 3.4.
- From 1 March 2021 servers and online data storage products shall comply with the ecodesign requirement set out in Annex II point 1.2.3.
- From 1 January 2023 servers and online data storage products shall comply with the ecodesign requirements set out in Annex II point 1.1.2.
- Compliance with ecodesign requirements shall be measured and calculated in accordance with the methods set out in Annex III.
Power Supply Efficiency
Annex II section 1.1 specifies requirements for Power supply (PSU) efficiency and minimum power factor requirements. Initial requirements come into effect in 2020 and stricter requirements come into effect in 2023 (Note: the requirements starting in 2026 have been removed from the regulation).
Material efficiency requirements
Annex II subsection 1.2 specifies material efficiency requirements addressing disassembly, secure data deletion and firmware upgrades (for a minimum of 8 years). In particular, the major components of the server or storage product need to be easily removable for reuse and/or recycling. The initial proposal has been expanded to include (g) and (h): (a) data storage devices; (b) memory; (c) processor (CPU); (d) motherboard; (e) expansion card/graphic card; (f) power supply, (g) chassis, and (h) batteries.
Information to be provided by manufacturers
The information requirements are essentially the same as the July draft regulation.
 Revised server ecodesign regulation, http://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regcomitology/index.cfm?do=search.documentdetail&Dos_ID=16742&ds_id=58881&version=2&page=1&AttLang=en