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Leading the Charge in Energy Efficiency

Germany’s rigorous new legislation around energy sourcing and consumption is paving the way for cutting-edge innovation in data centres.

Data centre operators in Germany are facing a mandate to enhance energy efficiency amidst a challenging energy landscape. Germany’s new Act to Increase Energy Efficiency in Germany (Energy Efficiency Act – EnEfG) represents a significant step towards enhancing sustainability in the digital infrastructure sector.

Deerns is spearheading innovative solutions that comply with and surpass these new legislated standards for data centres in Germany.

Inexpensive gas from Russia, once a staple, is no longer available. Coal-fired power generation will be phased out entirely by 2038 at the latest. Additionally, Germany has adopted a firm stance against nuclear energy following the 2011 Fukushima disaster and has since shut down the remaining nuclear power plants.

Summary of Critical Changes

Data Centres operating after 01 July 2026 must achieve

  • a PUE value < 1.2

Data Centres operating prior to 1 July 2026 must

  • achieve a PUE of less than or equal to 1.5 from 1 July 2027
  • achieve a PUE of less than or equal t0 1.3 from 1 July 2030

Min. waste heat reuse

  • from 1 July 2026 at least 10%
  • from 1 July 2027 at least 15%
  • from 1 July 2028 at least 20%

Energy from renewable sources

  • from 1 January 2024 50% electricity from renewable energies
  • from 1 January 2027 100% electricity from renewable energies

Deerns Data Centre Case Study in Germany

At present, Deerns is involved in the design and development of a hyperscale campus spanning an extensive area of 20 hectares, this campus represents a substantial investment and electrical power supply will be partially sourced from solar generation.

" The PUE is projected to be less than 1.2, demonstrating this hyperscale data centre’s exceptional energy efficiency.
Hermann-Josef Selbach Specialist group coordination | Specialist planning

Legislation powers Innovation

Data centres, the backbone of digital infrastructure, are well-known for their significant energy consumption and heat generation. As data centre operators adapt to legislative changes, innovative solutions and technologies play a crucial role in achieving compliance with the new standards.

In pursuit of optimal energy efficiency and sustainability, the new legislation focuses on four critical areas:

  • Power usage effectiveness
  • Proportion of energy recycled
  • Coverage of electricity consumption
  • Air inlet temperature for cooling IT equipment (currently no requirements)

Whereas the ideal Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) is 1.0, achieving this energy efficiency level is practically impossible. PUE 1.0 indicates all the energy used by the facility goes directly into powering the IT equipment without any loss on cooling, lighting, or other non-IT related infrastructure. However, in practice, most data centres have a PUE 1.2, with the global average hovering around 1.5 to 2.0.

The new German Energy Efficiency Act mandates that data centres commencing operations from July 2026 must achieve a PUE > less than 1.2. Data centres that began operations before this date are required to meet a PUE of 1.5 by 2027, with a further reduction to a PUE of 1.3 by 2030. This regulation necessitates modifications to mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) infrastructure in data centres.

Proportion of Energy Recycled refers to the amount of waste heat energy that is captured and reused, thereby improving the overall energy efficiency of the data centre. Examples of waste heat repurposing include heating office spaces, supplying district heating systems, or even powering industrial processes.

The new legislation calls for the following minimum percentages of waste heat reuse:

  • 10% from 01 July 2026
  • 15% from 01 July 2027
  • 20% from 01 July 2028

When covering electricity consumption, data centre operators ensure that the electricity consumed by the data centre comes from renewable energy sources or is covered by renewable energy certificates, guarantees of origin or similar instruments.

For a data centre, achieving a high percentage of coverage of electricity consumption through renewable sources means that a significant portion, if not all, of its power comes from renewable energy such as wind, solar, hydro or biomass. In many cases, data centres enter into power purchase agreements directly with renewable energy producers to ensure a direct and traceable source of green energy for their operations.

Under current legislation, data centres are mandated to source 50% of their energy from renewable sources. However, as of July 2027, this requirement will escalate to 100%.

Implementing a limit for Air inlet temperature for cooling IT equipment is proving to be a challenge for legislators. This is due to concerns that raising the temperature from current best practice levels could potentially jeopardise the integrity of the IT equipment itself. The air intake temperature requirements initially envisaged in the draft Energy Efficiency Act have therefore been waived.

Towards a Sustainable Digital Infrastructure

Deerns, with its extensive experience in the data centre sector and commitment to excellence, is well-positioned to navigate these regulatory changes. We leverage technology and innovation through an integrated approach that optimises renewables, energy use and heat management.

We will continue to deliver cutting-edge solutions that meet and exceed the evolving requirements of the data centre industry, advancing data centre practices in Germany and beyond. Reach out to us to find out how we can support you in developing your future-ready data centre!

Let’s talk

Henry Geisler

Technical Director