On 6 August 2020, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), the National Government Office Administration (CNGOA), the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), and the National Energy Administration (NEA), jointly issued the Notice on Beginning the Recommendations for National Greed Data Centres (2020).

Concerned about the serious waste of resources and energy currently affecting some data centres in China, Chinese government established the National Green Data Centre programme, aiming to guide Chinese data centre industry to shift towards a more efficient and environment-friendly model of growth. Chinese government have also issued several policies to improve the standards for green data centres.

Specifically, every year MIIT and other key central government bodies jointly select a batch of National Green Data Centres from the various data centres operating in production and manufacturing, telecommunications, public services, energy, finance and e-commerce. The basic requirements that must be met by candidates are:

  1. Possession of independent legal personality and clear ownership rights. Abiding by relevant laws and regulations during the construction and operation of the data centre. No records in the past three years of safety or environmental accidents, of law infringements, or of breach of trust as recognised by judicial or administrative bodies.
  2. Clear and complete physical boundaries of the computing system, independent power supply and distribution, and deployment of refrigeration systems in line with the Action Plan for Green Efficient Refrigeration. This Action Plan highlights several tasks for refrigeration standards, including:
  • Raise the energy efficiency standards of refrigeration products, phasing out ones with low-efficiency. The energy efficiency limits of major refrigeration products should meet the access requirements for energy efficiency in developed countries, and should try to achieve the leading role of the first-level energy efficiency indexes worldwide.
  • Promote green and efficient refrigeration consumption, and encourage the inclusion of green and energy efficiency indexes as part of the tender evaluation criteria of products, so as to increase the role and importance of the indexes.
  • Further cooperation with the international community, especially through analysis of refrigeration energy efficiency standards and evaluating methods in different countries, so as to promote regional and international coordination and mutual recognition of standards.
  1. Follow the Guiding Opinions on the Construction and Distribution of Data Centres, which highlight the need to increase efforts in the standardisation of data centres, specifically by developing and assessing the standards and evaluating methods for energy efficiency, services and safety.
  2. Not included, in the previous year (2019), in the Rectification List for Special Supervision of the Industrial Energy Conservation and Efficiency of Data Centres.

Candidates officially selected as National Green Data Centres will receive capital and industry support by the government through favourable policies. This means that National Green Data Centres will have more advantages compared to other actors in the sector, as well as more opportunities to develop in a more sustainable way. This also sends an important signal to foreign data companies in China to comply with higher energy efficiency standards while improving the reliability of their services.