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The environmental balance of federal IT systems has hardly improved

The environmental balance of federal IT systems has hardly improved

As of: December 6, 2023 at 8:24 AM

When it comes to environmental protection and sustainability, federal data centers are lagging behind the goals the Traffic Light Alliance has set for itself. It is also said that the database of environmental statistics is insufficient.

Future topics related to climate protection and digitalization in federal data centers are neglected. When it comes to environmental protection and sustainability, the Traffic Light Alliance’s self-imposed goals are falling short. This arises from the federal government’s response to a parliamentary question from the left.

Data center environmental statistics are also based on a fragile database. Neither the electricity consumption nor the percentage of green electricity is known for each fourth federal system.

Left-wing MP Anke Domscheit-Berg complained about the lack of transparency: “As long as Traffic Light continues to face this glaring structural information deficit, it will not be able to achieve any of its IT sustainability goals.” Without reasonable data you cannot control well.

From 2027 only renewable energy

Compared to a similar demand from 2022, there is at least a slight improvement. 74 out of 118 data centers now use renewable energy. A year ago there were only 52 systems. However, an improvement in the share of renewable energy can only be seen in four systems.

The federal government notes in the paper that data center operators are obliged to cover 50 percent of their electricity consumption with electricity from renewable energies as of January 1, 2024. By 2027, the systems will be powered by 100 percent electricity from renewable energies.

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“Blue Angel” is not a standard

In the federal government’s responses to federal IT sustainability, it is notable that, as was the case a year ago, the federal “Blue Angel” environmental label hardly plays any role. The seal has been promoted by the federal government for more than 40 years to recognize environmentally friendly products and services. The Traffic Signal Alliance coalition agreement states: “Certifications such as the “Blue Angel” standard are required for federal IT procurement.”

A year ago, no single federal data center met all eight “Blue Angel” criteria. There are now two data centers that are certified, but only according to a now outdated evaluation method. For the current version of the Blue Angel, 21 criteria must be met instead of eight. Currently, no federal system can do this. Only five percent said they had fulfilled at least half. At the top is a data center that meets 17 out of 21 criteria.

When it comes to the use of waste heat that inevitably arises in data centers when running servers and other IT components, the Left faction is seeing a decline compared to the previous year. Then only eleven of the 118 systems used waste heat in some way, and in 2022, there were still 14 systems in place.