Briefing Report

Critical role for Europe’s data center code of conduct

The long-established EU Code of Conduct on Data Centre Energy Efficiency (hereafter referred to as EUCoC) has been given an important new role as the assessment criteria for the EU Taxonomy for sustainable activities, “green” public procurement criteria for data centers and as the recommended best practice in the EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive. It sets out the technical requirements covering data center design, construction and operations in owned, colocation and co-hosting facilities. While the EUCoC includes 162 best practices and typically relies on annual self-reporting, the EU Taxonomy classification scheme demands a third-party independent assessment every three years on a subset of 106 of these best practices. The formal requirements for third-party auditors are currently somewhat unclear.


  • Conformance with the EUCoC has been cited in EU regulatory and purchasing requirements, and it may be superseded by an EN (or possibly an ISO/IEC) standard (likely to be between 2026 and 2028).
  • Certain best practices may not be suitable for all geographies and power grids. This includes the elimination of isolation transformers and the running of uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems in efficiency mode.
  • Recently constructed data centers should be able to comply with most of the best practices, while older facilities may struggle. The EUCoC allows for the gradual implementation of best practices over time.
  • The EUCoC provides very limited or no coverage of renewable energy, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, circular economy (outside of heat reuse) and water management.

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