The U.S. government's Energy Star for Enterprise Servers program launched yesterday, offering buyers an “apples to apples” method for comparing the energy efficiency of servers from major vendors. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that on average, servers that earn the Energy Star label will be 30 percent more energy efficient than standard servers.
"If all servers sold in the United States meet this new specification, energy cost savings would grow to $800 million per year and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from more 1 million vehicles," the EPA said in announcing the program's launch.
The EPA has published the program specs on its web site, and posted a memo detailing the revisions from the final comment period. "We did get lots of comments on the final draft, but the vast majority were technical refinements and implementation issues and questions," said the EPA's Andrew Fanara, who has led the development effort.
The Energy Star for Enterprise Servers spec will cover servers with one to four processors, and set efficiency goals for servers at full load and also when idle. The standard will emphasize efficient power supplies and power management tools. To achieve an Energy Star rating, a server must be able to measure and report power usage, temperature and processor utilization - and those features must be turned on when a server ships.
The standard does not cover blade servers due to challenges in making direct energy usage comparisons with rackmount systems. “EPA continues to believe that since Blade Systems are capable of competing directly with single and dual socket systems it is important that they are evaluated using the same metrics,” the agency said.
The release is based on a "Tier 1" standard, and will be followed by a more comprehensive Tier 2 standard that will include blade servers and combine computing performance and energy efficiency. The EPA's current timetable calls for Tier 2 to take effect by October, 2010.
Energy Star was introduced by EPA in 1992 as a voluntary program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. The Energy Star label can be found on more than 50 different kinds of products, new homes and commercial and industrial buildings.