EPA Outlines Data Center Goals

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is likely to introduce an Energy Star program for servers and other data center equipment, and is also working on a metric that will measure the energy efficiency of data center facilities.

Robert Sauchelli, a national program manager of the EPA’s Energy Star program, said the agency is currently collecting industry feedback on its draft report on Data Center and Server Energy Efficiency (PDF), which was requested last year by Congress. Any official recommendations will be issued after the final report is published sometime next month.

But Sauchelli said those recommendations will almost certainly include an Energy Star program to measure the energy usage of servers and other data center equipment. The EPA is also working on a tool to rate the energy efficiency of entire facilities, similar to the Energy Star program for commercial buildings.


“We’d like to develop a metric to measure the energy performance of data center buildings,” Sauchelli said last Thursday at an IBM media event in New York. “There’s been a tremendous interest in green buildings. These buildings are more profitable, draw higher rents and are more valuable on the commercial real estate market.”

The Energy Star building performance rating tool, Portfolio Manager, allows commercial building owners and operators to rate the energy performance of facilities in comparison to their peers. The rating tool analyzes as-billed energy use and provides performance benchmarks at the whole building level.

A building level metric would give data center operators a better understanding of their facility’s energy efficiency and allow comparisons with other data centers. It would also provide a benchmark for companies aiming to improve their energy efficiency. The EPA isn;t the only group working on such a standard. The Green Grid, a technology industry consortium focusing on data center efficiency, has developed a building-level metric known as Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE).

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor-in-chief of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.