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New regulations could soon cause problems for data center operators

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(Image credit: Shutterstock / Gorodenkoff)

As we get closer to summer, data center operators across the UK and Europe will have another cooling-related problem to worry about: remaining compliant with new regulations.

This is according to a new report from temperature control equipment supplier Aggreko, which claims that European data centers with mechanical cooling systems need to be particularly careful when refurbishing or replacing their aging infrastructure.

“The 2020 F-Gas ban is a requirement of EU Regulation 517/2014,” Aggreko states, “[meaning] no refrigerants with a high global warming potential (GWP) can be used in cooling systems.”

To make matters worse, the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted maintenance schedules for data centers across Europe. For those using mechanical cooling systems, that could mean a prolonged replacement process, as they wait for the gear to arrive.

“The Met Office has predicted we will see even more instances of heatwaves across Europe this summer, so data center cooling systems are at risk of reaching their limit,” said Nick Osborne, Data Centre Specialist at Aggreko.

“If cooling demand exceeds capacity or the cooling system is awaiting repair or replacement within regulation parameters, unexpected and costly downtime is likely to ensue during critical periods. Data center operators must ensure their plans for supplementary cooling for these heatwaves are in place now before the summer begins.”

Aggreko believes hiring temporary cooling solutions could be the way to go, especially given the fact that heat waves across Europe rarely stick around for too long.