European Facilities Report Energy Use to EU

A group of data centers in Europe have begun measuring their energy efficiency and plan to make the data public through monthly reports to the European Commission. The effort is part of the European Code of Conduct for Data Centres, a voluntary program to address rising energy use in data centers.

The initiative includes a set of best practices (PDF), and participating data center operates agree to file reports with the EU using the Data Center Infrastructure Efficiency (DCiE) metric developed by the Green Grid. UK hosting companies Telecity and iomart are among the providers who have signed on already. The Code of Conduct has been supported by the British Computer Society, AMD, APC, Dell, Fujitsu, Gartner, HP, IBM, and Intel, among others.

“This is a vital step forward for the industry in encouraging IT management and data centre operators to focus on the appropriate issues for data centres. This is one of the key issues for the industry today and in the future,” said Bob Harvey, chair of the British Computer Society’s carbon footprint group.

The choice of DCiE as a metric reflects a slight divergence with emerging green metrics reporting in the U.S., where most companies that are reporting energy efficiency data (including Google and Microsoft) are using a different Green Grid metric, Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE). DCiE and PUE are different ways of expressing the relationship between the energy used by the facility and the amount that reaches the load.

“The European Commission’s Joint Research Center’s selection of DCiE as its measurement of choice demonstrates that The Green Grid’s efforts towards defining a consistent, global, collaborative way of measuring data center efficiency are working,” said John Pflueger, a director of The Green Grid.

In the U.S. more than 200 data centers have volunteered to provide data on their energy usage to the Environmental Protection Agency, which hopes to use the information to develop an Energy Star certification for data center facilities. Participants must collect 12 consecutive months of IT and building (whole building if stand-alone or data center portion only if within a larger building) energy use data, and submit the data by June 1, 2009.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large 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.

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