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Data centres are high energy users with significant scope for improving the energy efficiency of their operations.

This page includes an overview of data centres, regulatory requirements and key documents.


The increase in computer based resources has led to significant growth in the number of data centres and a trend towards higher density, higher processing power equipment, thus increasing direct energy consumption.  Increasing a data centre’s energy consumption also increases the cooling energy required to maintain a controlled temperature environment.

Data centres are high energy users with significant scope for improving the energy efficiency of their operation. In 2013 data centres consumed 7.3TWh (26.3 PJ) of electricity in Australia (3.9% of national consumption), and 0.9 TWh (3.24 PJ) in New Zealand (2.1% of national consumption). The trend is for increasing demand for the services provided by data centres (mainly data storage) due to growing use of information technology.

Whilst an increased use of computers and data centres may well provide a net reduction in energy consumption for the community at large due to decreased transportation/travel, better manufacturing techniques, etc., there is however an increase in the localised (at the data centre) energy consumption that has other implications such as;

  • increased total energy cost;
  • increased emissions, including greenhouse gases, from electricity generation;
  • increased load on the local power grid to meet the increased power demand.

In April 2009, the Department published a report, Data Centre Energy Efficiency Product Profile that explored the situation regarding energy efficiency of data centres in Australia, having particular consideration to the related ICT equipment, and to determine if sufficient evidence was available to support a more detailed study incorporating a regulatory impact statement on data centre energy efficiency.

The report drew extensively on overseas data and while it can be concluded that Australia’s demand for data centres and the associated energy consumption will be comparable, further analysis of the established and projected growth of data centres in Australian needs to be undertaken.

To address the limitations of the earlier report as well as to provide an update on the change in the market place since 2009, the Department on behalf of E3 produced a report, Energy Efficiency Policy Options for Australian and New Zealand Data Centres

In April 2014, the Department released the report and a discussion paper seeking stakeholder input. 

At a glance...



Energy Rating Label


New Zealand

Data Centres







Latest consultation:

15 Dec 2022 AEDT
15 Mar 2023 AEDT

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