The Canadian government this week pledged to only buy servers that are certified under the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star for Enterprise Servers program. “It’s important because the federal government is a huge purchasing power,” said Lydia Aouani of Natural Resources Canada, a federal agency that aims to ensure sustainable development of the nation’s natural resources. “Soon, any server purchased by our government will be Energy Star (certified).”
Aouani presented at the DatacenterDynamics conference in Toronto on Tuesday, and her comments were reported at the DCD web site. Aouani cited a 2008 study that concluded that data centers use 0.6 percent of Canada’s electricity. There are about 800,000 servers installed in Canada and the facilities that house them consume 3,400 million kWh of electricity, resulting in exhaust of 830 kilotons of greenhouse gases or equivalent substances.
The Energy Star effort hopes to offer buyers an independent “apples to apples” method for comparing the energy efficiency of servers from major vendors. Thus far there has been limited participation from major server vendors. As of Oct. 1, only HP, Lenovo Group and Fujitsu had servers on the list of Energy Star servers.
The EPA has published the program specs on its web site, which cover servers with one to four processors, and set efficiency goals for servers at full load and also when idle. 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.
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.