Federal Agencies to Get 'Energy Czars'

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Over the last several years, Ken Brill and the Uptime Institute have been calling for companies to appoint in-house “energy czars” to coordinate IT energy efficiency initiatives across the organization. Brill says a position with access to the C-suite is essential in aligning priorities across departments – especially IT and facilities – to capture available cost savings in the data center and elsewhere. 

Only a modest number of organizations have responded to this appeal with an energy czar appointment. But the concept may catch on quickly at federal agencies in the wake of an executive order signed last week by President Barack Obama, which also has implications for how federal data centers operate.

The executive order directs federal agences to implement “best management practices for energy-efficient management of servers and Federal data centers.” It also says the government will use “purchasing preferences or other incentives” to encourage the adoption of products that minimize greenhouse gas emissions.

And in Section 7 of the executive order, Obama gives each agency 30 days to establish a Senior Sustainability Officer, who’ll be selected from “among the agency’s senior management officials.” The sustainability officer will be responsible for developing targets for agency-wide reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and providing progress reports to the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB). 

“As the largest consumer of energy in the U.S. economy, the Federal government can and should lead by example when it comes to creating innovative ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency, conserve water, reduce waste, and use environmentally-responsible products and technologies,” said President Obama.

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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