Project Mission

The EURECA project tackles the lack of knowledge and awareness on how to identify and procure environmentally sound and sustainable data centres. The work will encompass solutions for pre-commercial procurement (PCP) and procurement of innovative solutions (PPI). This will be achieved by consolidating recognised and emerging benchmark criteria into an easy-to-use tool that can be deployed and used by non-experts.

EURECA will recommend an improvement roadmap indicating the procurement options(s) to reduce energy consumption, make efficiencies and minimise the environmental footprint. Key criteria will be presenting the Cost-Benefit analysis, covering the lifecycle of the data centre and the environmental impact. The project will strengthen business cases by presenting training and advisory resources on how to establish the options with both technical and commercially neutral information, without prejudice. These options include, as appropriate, to perform detailed studies on investing in existing staff, refitting facilities, consolidation actions, new builds, or outsourcing – or specific combinations or subsets of these. The resources include RFI, ITT or RFP templates, technical & environmental data directories and a case study catalogue, structured along the procurement workflow.

The ultimate goal is to enable procurement teams to choose environmentally sound buying options whilst producing true and robust cost-benefit visibility to enable successful triggering of tenders. To ensure efficient use of the project’s developments, we will deliver a coherent set of targeted and efficient training components, developed throughout the project that supports the use of the EURECA tool and its resources. The consortium’s existing comprehensive liaisons to European and international standards committees and industry groups will ensure the EURECA programme is a “living” resource that is sustainable, interactive and able to reflect the latest developments.

The project building blocks

Building block 1

Establish framework of Standards and Best Practices harmonised to a data centre maturity model. Liaise with standards bodies to map the framework to encompass upcoming standards and KPIs

The data centre can be seen as a collective and integrated system of systems. Each system such as power cooling IT operations security and telecommunications makes a unique and essential contribution on the overall data centres output efficiency and environmental footprint. In addition each system has its own range of KPIs standards and best practices. The EURECA tool aims to put this complex landscape into a consolidated framework as a first step. The scope of the project does not extend to creating new KPIs or standards therefore the team will utilise existing and fast developing work liaising with the relevant standards bodies and related research clusters.

Building block 2

Advance metrics and add life cycle analysis elements

Public (and also private procurers need simple-to-obtain yet effective and procurement-proof metrics that allow them to differentiate data centres and data centre services according to the environmental performance i.e. their overall environmental impact per final service. The EURECA framework will bring the key information on the functional performance of the data centre and its systems and services together with comprehensive environmental signposting potentially including external environmental costs. The latter will cover all relevant environmental impacts in a life cycle perspective from cradle to grave i.e. all relevant production use and end-of-life treatment processes of the data centre the transmission to/from the user and related equipment. Both the functional and the environmental performance will be built on easy-to-measure data centre data and system characteristics and be enhanced with external high quality life cycle data aligned with the European Commissions Single Market Act on Product Environmental Footprinting.

Building block 3

Add self-improvement road-mapping advice and technical signposting guidelines

In order to remain competitive organisations need to keep up with the pace in the real data centre world. In every short refresh cycle hardware and new methods are developing to become twice as fast and also twice as efficient.. In order to capitalise on renewal or retrofit actions there needs to be a self-improvement system in place. It starts with having insights into the organisations data centre overall situation and which industry and market developments are appropriate. These developments will probably be of technical origins even though operational energy efficiency and security innovations may be of impact too. The tool aims to keep an up to date database offering to keep a keen eye in comparing the organisations current situation against what has been developed in the meantime and doing so have a regular self-abasement. The gap this regular comparison will offer is feeding into a road map for informed decision making.

Building block 4

Add procurement benchmarks business case analysis tools and market navigation guides

The EURECA tool will help establish robust business cases and suggest procurement benchmarks for common scenarios. For example it will assist organisations to establish the full picture of options for consideration that may include investing in an existing data centre consolidating multiple data centres or outsourcing elements. The EURECA tools output will also present market navigation guides for the different types of options.

Building block 5

Build the framework into an accessible web enabled tool with an easy to use questionnaire interface (Due in June 2016)

The aim here is to provide a user-friendly web (and mobile enabled tool that integrates all the best practices standards and frameworks as a one solution. The tool will elicit requirements from procurers through a set of questions based on which it then provides advice on the applicable practices and metrics to look for along with their pros and cons. Where applicable the tool will also provide templates to suit the needs of specific procurement frameworks in an attempt to simplify the process. The tool will be available in multiple languages and accessible by technical and non-technical users alike.

Building block 6

Make key elements available in different languages

One of the challenges faced by many procurers is the fact that most best practices standards and frameworks are only available in English. EURECA will aim to provide access to all main documents and resources in multiple European languages. Initially EURECA will support Dutch French and German in addition to English. Not only this covers the main data centre hubs in Europe but also among them the four languages are spoken by 50% of the EU population. based on demand and availability of resources EURECA will also consider supporting other languages.

Building block 7

Develop training curriculum to support the tools use

Training is necessary to completely understand the tool and how to get the most benefit from the tool. This training will be jointly developed and the consortium aims to deliver a curriculum in cooperation with the best training institutes available. Partnering training institutes will be found in several European countries to execute implementation in Europe. EURECA is keen on developing and making a standardised training curriculum available for implementation throughout Europe as results can be measured and monitored for each participating country and participating training partner.

Building block 8

Knowledge share across main data centre rich member states

The framework and tool developed by the project must bring the added value to the Greener Public Procurement processes it aspires to bring. To realize this it is vital to engage with stakeholders particularly those in member states that have a strong data centre sector providing services to the public sector. In doing so the project will be able to establish a network of EU Public Sector GPP champions willing to share their knowledge and experience a best practice platform deliver workshops and establish a set of EU Public Sector case and use studies that have proven themselves as being both environmentally sound and beneficial in terms of energy and money savers. This aims to contribute to continued uptake across the EUs Public Sector organisations.

Building block 9

Develop plan for sustainability beyond project funding

The software tool will need to be maintained with the most up to date information from standards bodies and suppliers of goods and services and therefore would need regular updates requiring centralised maintenance of this data which would include vetting for neutrality via regular user steering and feedback activities. The project features a specific task to examine the most appropriate methods for maintaining the tool beyond the 30 months of the project funding and ensuring it remains aligned with the latest in technology and methodology. This may include considering licensing models or subions however the main objective is to make the tool and its future development freely accessible and available to Public Sector Procurers.

Building block 10

Prove the concept evaluate measure impact & provide policy recommendations (August 2017)

Using the outcome of the trials with data centres and procurers as partners of EURECA the suitability and practicality of the EURECA framework and tool will be evaluated. The quantitative results of applying the life cycle based metrics will be used to evaluate the achievement of EURECA regarding the call targets. These targets relate to the net primary energy savings via EURECA-guided public procurement of more energy-efficient data centres and services and the three EU2020 targets of reduced climate change emissions increased share of renewable energy and increased energy efficiency. Policy recommendations for adoption or adaption of the EURECA framework metrics and tool under EU Green Public Procurement as well as in the various standardisation efforts by CEN CENELEC ETSI ISO and ITU will advise the projects deliverables potential policy use.

Workplan

Goal Target Completion
Base-lining, SWOT and GAP Analyses November 2015
EURECA Procurement Framework & alignment to Maturity Model November 2015
Training, e-learning & knowledge sharing requirements Ongoing throughout the project, training from June 2016
Lifecycle and Evaluation metrics June 2016
EURECA Tool release June 2016
Mentoring and Impact assessment Mentoring on tool from June 2016, completion of impact assessment by August 2017
EURECA Sustainability Plan August 2017
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