Can your data center earn an EPA Energy Star?

EPA says large data centers can now earn the Energy Star label for energy efficiency.

energy star
Think your data center is so power efficient it could earn an Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star label? The EPA this week said that any stand alone data centers in the top 25 % of their peers in energy efficiency according to EPA's energy performance scale can now earn such an accolade.  

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The EPA said it uses a commonly accepted measure for energy efficiency, the Power Usage Effectiveness metric, to determine whether a data center qualifies for the Energy Star label. Specifically efficiency levels will be determined by using what's known as the power usage effectiveness (PUE) metric, which measures the total power supplied to a data center, divided by the amount that reaches the gear. 

Before being awarded the Energy Star, a licensed professional must independently verify the energy performance of these buildings and sign and seal the application document that is sent to EPA for review and approval, the agency stated.    

In its 2007 Report to Congress on Server and Data Center Energy Efficiency Opportunities , the EPA estimated that the nation's servers and data centers consumed about 61 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) in 2006 (1.5% of total U.S. electricity consumption) for a total electricity cost of about $4.5 billion. As one of the fastest growing sectors, national energy consumption by servers and data centers could nearly double by 2011 to more than 100 billion kWh, representing a $7.4 billion annual electricity cost.

The EPA stated that improving the energy efficiency of America's data centers by just 10 percent would save more than 6 billion kilowatt-hours each year, enough to power more than 350,000 homes and save more than $450 million annually. 

The EPA states that its Energy Star program offers a proven energy management strategy and free tools for public and private organizations to save energy and money through increased energy efficiency.  Data centers can improve energy efficiency in many ways, such as purchasing Energy Star qualified servers and ensuring that all HVAC equipment functions properly, the agency stated.

There are a number of hoops your data center staff needs to jump through to get the EPA rating.  For example you must have a all inclusive way of IT energy metering  and in order to earn a rating, a Data Center space using estimates for IT energy cannot be more than 10% of the buildings floor area, the EPA states.  Customers need to use the EPA's Portfolio Manager, an online tool which assigns an efficiency score between 1 and 100. 

Follow Michael Cooney on Twitter: nwwlayer8  

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