Blue and turquoise feathers

New award criteria after merger for the „Blauer Engel“ for data center operation

"The new criteria are a challenge, but also an opportunity"
News | 16.02.2023

The „Blauer Engel“ for data centers describes the requirements and award criteria for how a data center must be designed so that it is considered energy-efficient, resource-efficient and thus environmentally compatible.  The „Blauer Engel“ for energy-efficient data center operation (DE-UZ 161) has been around since 2011, while the „Blauer Engel“ for co-location data centers (DE UZ 214), on the other hand, has only been around since 2020. These variants have now been merged, resulting in new certification rules, which are now described under DE ZU 228.

And here is a summary of the most important innovations:

With regard to energy management systems, such a system is to be based on DIN EN 50600- 3-1, DIN EN ISO 50001 or EMAS III. Various values are to be determined on a monthly basis. Relevant values for this monitoring include electricity demand, heat dissipation and heat used.

There are also new PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) limits for data centers, depending on the construction of the same:

Data Center comissioning Allowed PUE
01.01.2024 or later ≤ 1,25
Between 01.01.2019 and 31.12.2023 ≤ 1,30
Between 01.01.2015 and 31.12.2018 ≤ 1,50
31.12.2014 or earlier ≤ 1,60

A minimum requirement for the energy efficiency of the cooling system (Cooling Efficiency Ratio, CER) is also newly required. Thus, data centers that go live on 01.01.2024 or later must achieve a CER >9.

The topic of waste heat recovery in data centers also plays a role in the new award criteria of the eco-label for data center operators.

Data centers operated from January 1, 2023 onwards must have an ERF (Energy Reuse Factor) > 0. This is achieved if part of the waste heat generated is used in the center's own buildings or by external customers. The Blue Angel thus underscores the requirement of the Energy Efficiency Act for waste heat utilization, which goes beyond use in the company's own building. Data centers with an output of more than 100 kW must also have connections for external waste heat use, as well as offer potential heat consumers on request to conclude a corresponding supply agreement and publish the temperature level and quantity of heat they can supply. The ERF must be published at least annually.

Furthermore, the servers used in the data center must achieve an average CPU utilization of at least 20% over a period of 12 months (ITEUSV ≥ 20%).

"The merging of the two Blue Angel certification variants for data centers and the simultaneous redefinition of the certification criteria represents a new challenge, but also an opportunity. Thus, the Blue Angel experiences a new value and adapts to the latest developments in order to meet the premise of 'energy-efficient data center'",

describes Dr. Dieter Thiel, Senior Consultant of the Data Center Group and „Blauer Engel“ Auditor the developments in the Blue Angel for data centers.

The investment in the Blue Angel and thus in the sustainability of the data center pays off for operators! Each certification starts with a consultation according to the criteria catalog and can reveal potentials for energy savings. The costs can thus be amortized and the investment pays off in the long term. In addition, the new Energy Efficiency Act (EnEfG) makes compliance with certain PUE and ERF values mandatory. These requirements are automatically met with „Blauer Engel“ certification.

Data center operators also have the opportunity to apply for funding for consulting by a certified auditor for energy optimization and certification with the Blue Angel eco-label. Feel free to contact us!

For more information on the „Blauer Engel“, see our interview with Marina Köhn, research associate at the Umweltbundesamt (UBA):


Explanation of terms:

CER: Cooling Efficiency Ratio is the ratio of the amount of heat dissipated by the system within one year to the total electrical energy used for this purpose for the cooling system

ERF: Energy Reuse Factor is the ratio of energy reused outside the data center to the total energy used for the data center. The factor can range from zero (no energy is reused) to 1 (all energy is reused). As energy, all forms of energy are equally included in the calculation (electrical, thermal, chemical, mechanical energy). The additional energy used to upgrade the dissipated energy for external use (e.g., to raise the temperature of the waste heat) or to distribute it (e.g., pump current of a local heating system) is not included in the calculation of the ERF.

PUE: is a measure of the energy efficiency of the data center infrastructure and describes the ratio of the annual energy demand of the entire data center to the annual energy demand of the IT technology.


Picture: © nadtytok / #129686077 / (standard licence) 

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