More sustainability in the data center


Criteria and influencing factors for more sustainable data centers

Anyone who only looks at power sources and waste heat when it comes to the sustainability of data centers is falling short. There are many more starting points for a smaller CO2 footprint. In addition to building construction and energy supply, suppliers of data center infrastructure are also called upon to participate in this task for society as a whole. But how can this be achieved successfully?

ESG criteria as a competitive factor for a sustainable data center

More sustainable companies have been shown in various studies [e.g. here:] to be more resilient to crises, with similar or even better profit margins - at least if the topic is really lived and not just written on paper.

Whereby ESG covers more than just climate or environmental protection. In addition to Environment (E), it also includes Social (S) and Government (G), i.e. compliance with certain social standards and legal requirements, such as the prohibition of child labor, the observance of sanctions or not committing bribery.

How suppliers can positively influence sustainability in the data center

RoHS and REACH: EU Directive 2011/65/EU stands for the Restriction of Certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS) in electrical and electronic equipment. Closely related to this is EU Regulation No. 1907/2006, which regulates the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH). Unlike RoHS, REACH not only affects E&E products, but also their use during the manufacturing process, such as in paints and solvents, as well as their use in housings and coatings, for example.

Manufacturers, distributors and importers are responsible for complying with RoHS and REACH and demonstrating compliance to authorities and customers. One contribution to reducing hazardous substances is, for example, the switch in connectors to Ecobrass, a high-quality brass alloy that no longer contains toxic lead; another way to conserve resources is to use recycled aluminum.

Conflict minerals: Under the Dodd-Frank Act (Section 1502), all listed companies in the USA and their suppliers are required to prove the origin of certain raw materials classified as conflict minerals from their products. In the EU, this was adopted into local law by Regulation 2017/821. In particular, conflict minerals refer to tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold, also known as "3TG" after their English names (Tin, Tungsten, Tantalum & Gold). Their mining causes human rights violations and armed conflicts in many regions. For this reason, their use is only permitted if it is ensured along the supply chain that they originate from regions where the ores and materials are responsibly extracted and processed.

Code of Conduct: Beyond the legal requirements, voluntary commitments and agreements within the company can also help to strengthen sustainability and social responsibility. As written guidelines, they provide management and employees with orientation for their own decisions, which increases the binding nature and likelihood of implementation. They also demonstrate the orientation to customers and partners - where the proportion of those who pay attention to ethical and social behavior is growing.


Less plastic - better fire protection

Cables and mesh nodes, with their plastic sheathing and housings, can provide additional food for flames in the event of a fire.

To counter this risk, there are two possible strategies - relating to quantity and quality. First, the number of racks and cables can be reduced via the use of more efficient components, thus reducing the sheer mass of plastic components. On the other hand, attention must also be paid to how plastic can be avoided in the respective components.

Rosenberger OSI offers an example with the PreCONNECT® SMAP-G2 19-inch distribution enclosure, which mainly consists of non-combustible aluminum sheet and hardly contains any plastic parts.


Faster networks curb energy losses

New Very Small Form Factor (VSFF) plug connectors such as SN® and MDC are currently making enormous progress. These make it possible to transmit ever higher data rates.


Energy savings in the data center through high-density and space-saving components

Just as more bandwidth over fewer cables is possible with cabling, more compact rack and server housings also offer savings opportunities. The more IT and network infrastructure that can be accommodated in the existing building, the more efficient the data center is in terms of the building fabric required, the creation of which is included in the eco-balance as a "CO2 backpack".

The Patch Location Rack Comfort from Rosenberger OSI in compact ODF-style format [] can make a contribution to this. It can be installed on walls by means of a rear panel and is also accessible from the front in a space-saving manner thanks to a folding door. This means that the cabling rack can be installed on previously unused areas outside the expensive cold aisles.


Environmentally friendly materials for more sustainability in the data center

In addition to the measures taken during ongoing operations, the delivery of new components also deserves due attention. Delivery and shipping packaging often results in considerable quantities of paper and cardboard, polystyrene and plastic films, which were produced with considerable resource input and ultimately have to be disposed of at great expense. There is enormous potential for savings here.

Some companies have already started to reduce their packaging to the minimum and avoid problematic materials. The Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research (IAP) at the Schwarzheide Technical Center has developed such an alternative for the packaging of patch cables in a joint project with Rosenberger OSI.


A sustainability strategy that exists only on paper will not lead to success in the long run, because it gives away important optimization potential. With the right partner at your side, you can exploit the opportunities in many facets and save costs, improve efficiency and contribute to climate protection in every phase of the lifecycle.