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IMDA introduces sustainability standard for data centres operating in tropical climates

  • Standard aims to optimise energy efficiency while operating DCs at higher temperature settings
  • IMDA forges new partnerships to drive global digital sustainability


Singapore has launched one of the world’s first standard for optimising energy efficiency for data centres (DCs) in tropical climate countries. Announced by Singapore’s Senior Minister of State, Communications and Information, Dr Janil Puthucheary at ATxEnterprise, the standard comes after a working group comprising domain and technical experts from both industry and academia, as well as government agencies worked on establishing a set of guidelines to enable the operation of DCs at higher temperature settings while optimising energy efficiency.

DCs are important enablers of the digital economy

DCs are important enablers of the digital economy. However, DCs are also intensive users of resources like land, water, and energy, contributing to our carbon footprint. In a typical data centre, cooling systems account for up to 40% of total energy consumption with many operators choosing to operate their equipment at temperatures of 22°C and below.1 The cooling of DCs in a warmer tropical climate environment presents additional challenges as more energy is used to operate the cooling systems.

As demand for DCs increases, energy efficiency will be critical for ensuring sustainable growth of the industry. Globally, there is a consensus amongst DC operators on the need to operate their DCs sustainably. There is also increased awareness that it is possible to operate DCs at higher temperatures while achieving optimal results. However, there is a lack of established industry guidelines on how to safely raise DCs’ operating temperatures in a tropical climate, and at higher humidity levels. Singapore’s new standard was developed against this background and following consultation with the industry.

The new standard announced by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) aims to help DCs develop a roadmap to support the gradual increase in the DC operating temperatures to 26°C and above. This could lead to DCs potentially benefiting from a 2% to 5% cooling energy savings, with every 1°C increase in the DC operating temperature.2

Pushing the envelope of sustainability with green DCs

IMDA’s new standard forms part of the Digital Connectivity Blueprint which was launched on 5 June 2023 by Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information, Mrs Josephine Teo. Within the Blueprint, sustainability will be a paramount design factor in Singapore’s digital infrastructure, so that we grow our digital economy in line with our long-term climate commitments. The standard for tropical DCs complements other sustainability-related industry standards and best practices that are key in our push for sustainability in Singapore’s ICT ecosystem. In the longer term, the Government will also chart a roadmap towards net-zero DCs that are powered by renewable energy, considering the necessary resource requirements such as land, power generating sources and green pathways.

Green Mark Certification

To encourage greater adoption of the standards by the DCs operating in Singapore, IMDA is working with the Building & Construction Authority (BCA) to update the Green Mark scheme for DCs, which sets the energy efficiency and sustainability benchmarks for the DC industry, with this new standard for Tropical DCs.3

Greening the digital sector with sustainable tech partnerships

To bring Singapore forward as the regional hub for digital sustainability, IMDA is also building international private public partnerships to drive the development of digital sustainability for a greener digital future for all. IMDA is joining forces with key collaborators such as IBM and Microsoft, and Singapore is the first country to join the Green Software Foundation and European Green Digital Coalition as a supporting partner, to exchange best practices and promote implementation of green software. This will include efforts to equip the software community with knowledge on green software practices to design, develop and deploy sustainable digital applications, advance technologies to develop low-carbon digital applications, and encourage the development of innovative carbon aware solutions.

Pilot Trial

IMDA has worked with several DC operators in Singapore to trial this new standard to reduce energy use. For example, Digital Realty, has referenced this standard and successfully increased their DC operating temperatures by 2°C at two of their 4.5 MW data halls, which translates to a reduction of approximately 2-3% total energy usage in these data halls over the trial period to-date. The Government Technology Agency (GovTech) has also begun trialling higher temperatures in a Government DC, as part of their sustainability initiative.

IMDA invites DC operators to use this standard to help determine the best operating temperature for optimising energy efficiency in tropical climates whilst safeguarding operational reliability. For more information and purchase of the standards, please visit

Issued by the Infocomm Media Development Authority

About Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA)

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) leads Singapore’s digital transformation with infocomm media. To do this, IMDA will develop a dynamic digital economy and a cohesive digital society, driven by an exceptional infocomm media (ICM) ecosystem – by developing talent, strengthening business capabilities, and enhancing Singapore's ICM infrastructure. IMDA also regulates the telecommunications and media sectors to safeguard consumer interests while fostering a pro-business environment, and enhances Singapore’s data protection regime through the Personal Data Protection Commission.

For more news and information, visit or follow IMDA on LinkedIn (@IMDA), Facebook (@IMDAsg) and Instagram (@IMDAsg).

About Asia Tech x Singapore (ATxSG)

ATxSG 2023 is Asia’s leading technology event jointly organised by Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Informa Tech - supported by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB). The event consists of two main segments, ATxSummit and ATxEnterprise.

ATxSummit (6 – 7 June), the apex event of ATxSG held at Capella Singapore, comprises an invitation-only Plenary covering themes like generative AI, web 3.0 and trust, soonicorns and sustainability across four key pillars: Tech x Trust, Tech x Good, Tech x Builders and Tech x Creative. ATxSummit also features the ATxAI and SG Women in Tech conferences, alongside G2G and G2B closed-door roundtables to facilitate a closer partnership between the public sector and digital industry.

ATxEnterprise (7 – 9 June), organised by Informa Tech and held at Singapore Expo, will host conferences as well as exhibition marketplaces comprising B2B enterprises across Technology, Media, Infocomm, Satellite industries and start-ups. ATxEnterprise consists of BroadcastAsia, CommunicAsia, SatelliteAsia, TechXLR8 and InnovFest x Elevating Founders.

For more information on ATxSG, please visit

For media clarifications, please contact:

(Mr) CHOO Hong Xian
(Communications and Marketing)
DID: (65) 6955 0221

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