HLRS Receives EMAS Certification for Environmental Responsibility

04 March 2020

It is the first time that a major high-performance computing center has received approval under this framework for environmental management.

The High-Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS) has received certification under the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS). The accomplishment is the culmination of a multiyear effort to create and implement a comprehensive sustainability concept that guides HLRS's operation and will help shape its future growth.

Developed in the European Union, EMAS is the most demanding system for sustainable environmental management worldwide. Organizations that receive EMAS certification formally commit themselves to maintain stringent environmental standards and to continually reduce their environmental impact over time.

HLRS is the first major high-performance computing center to receive EMAS certification.

For a more detailed explanation of HLRS's sustainability policies and activities, see our environmental statement and sustainability report.

"Achieving EMAS certification is an important accomplishment and an investment in our future," said Prof. Michael Resch, HLRS Director. "High-performance computing centers like HLRS unavoidably require large amounts of energy and other resources for the operation and cooling of our machines. Considering climate change and other threats to our environment, it is imperative that the HPC community do everything we can to minimize our environmental impact. At HLRS our entire staff, under the leadership of our sustainability team, has worked hard to put a comprehensive plan into effect, and we hope that the knowledge we have gained through this process will provide a model that other HPC centers could also benefit from."

The new EMAS certificate constitutes an enhancement of HLRS's other formal commitments to environmental responsibility, including certification for environmental management under the ISO 14001 norm and for energy management under the ISO 50001 framework. HLRS recently received these two certifications following an audit by an independent, accredited environmental verifier in November 2019.

EMAS requirements exceed those of these other international certifications, additionally requiring publication of an environmental statement, continual improvement of environmental sustainability, inclusion of all employees in the organization's sustainability efforts, and regular review of adherence to all relevant environmental regulations.

HLRS's comprehensive environmental management system covers all levels of the organization, addressing topics including energy usage, resource consumption and disposal, and avoidance of activities that negatively impact the environment or human health. Among the HLRS plan's key emphases are considering environmental impact in all purchasing decisions, reducing energy consumption, minimizing waste, reusing resources, supporting research that will lead to broader sustainability gains, and sharing the knowledge HLRS gains about environmental management with other HPC centers.

Development of HLRS's sustainability concept was supported by grants from the Baden-Württemberg Ministry for Science, Research and Art under a project titled "Sustainability in HPC Centers." The effort was also undertaken in collaboration with the Baden-Württemberg Academy for Nature and Environmental Protection.

The new EMAS certification was formally recorded by the IHK Region Stuttgart.

Christopher Williams