Q&A: Energy Star for Data Centers

As we noted Wednesday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has chosen to launch its Energy Star for Data Centers ratings using the Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) metric as the basis for its rankings. We followed up with Mike Zatz, Chief of the Market Sectors Group for ENERGY STAR, to learn more. Here’s our Q-and-A with Mike:

Q: The EPA was collecting energy usage data from about 200 data centers to help develop the facility-level standard. Is this program continuing?

A: The data collection initiative is ongoing, and is scheduled to be completed in June 2009. At present preliminary data has been received from about 110 data centers. Some have had to drop out for various reasons, including insufficient metering of data centers within larger buildings.

Q: What’s the timetable for the implementation of the PUE/DCiE based Energy Star ratings?

A: If the data collection is completed as scheduled in June 2009, our target is January 2010 to release the ENERGY STAR rating for data centers in our Portfolio Manager energy tracking tool.

Q: Is there a process through which Energy Star will work with the industry to try and reach a consensus on standards for a broader standard? Is there a roadmap for developing a consensus, or is this contingent on better industry leadership emerging on this issue?

A: EPA worked with the industry for the better part of a year to settle on the current planned methodology for the ENERGY STAR rating. As we hope to ultimately change the rating to be based on work output from data centers, we believe that the industry is in the best position to initiate and lead the dialogue on how best to measure work output. EPA hope to be involved in those efforts, but does not anticipate leading them.

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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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