Research has shown that while data center owners and operators are mostly in favor of sustainability regulation, they have a low opinion of the regulators’ expertise. Some operators have cited Germany’s Energy Efficiency Act as evidence: the law, which was recently passed, lays down a set of extremely challenging power usage effectiveness (PUE) requirements that will likely force some data centers to close and prevent the building of others.
The headline requirement of the act (see Table 1) is that new data centers (i.e., those that become operational in 2026 and beyond) must have an annual operational PUE of 1.2 or below within two years of commissioning. While meeting this tough energy efficiency stipulation is possible, very few data centers today — even new and well-managed ones — are achieving this figure. Uptime Intelligence data shows an average PUE of 1.45 for data centers built in the past three years.
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