At long last, the EPA weighs in with Energy Star for servers

Summary:After months of work and debate, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has officially released its Energy Star requirements for server technology.

After months of work and debate, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has officially released its Energy Star requirements for server technology.

The agency claims that equipment bearing the new Energy Star for Servers label will be 30 percent more energy-efficient than alternatives AND that complying with the new standard will help divert greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the output of about 1 million cars, trucks and other vehicles.

Here's the press release outlining the details of the specification.

Fundamentally speaking, though, servers that are engineered according to the new rules focus on the following:

  • Efficient power supplies that create less heat (and therefore, require less air conditioning)
  • Features that help keep tabs on real-time power use, utilization and temperature
  • Advanced power management that works across all states of usage
  • A data sheet that provides a standard view of energy performance and other related green IT features

There's a lot more down-and-dirty data about the specification PLUS comments from various companies throughout the industry at this link.

As many of you realize, there's much more to a data center than the servers inside, so this is clearly just the first step toward creating a more uniform way for companies to keep tabs on what hardware might be the best option for their particular infrastructure.

In fact, if you read the specification itself, you'll discover that there is a lot more work to be done. In my opinion, Tier 1 lags where the industry is moving in terms of innovation. The fine print reveals, for one, that blades and blade chassis, server appliances, network equipment, storage equipment and fully fault tolerant systems are NOT covered yet. Moreover, any server with more than four process sockets is currently ineligible for coverage.

The EPA will reveal in June 2009 its schedule for next steps. A Tier 2 level specification that addresses many of the above items is expected to emerge by Oct. 15, 2010.

Topics: Hardware, Servers


Heather Clancy is an award-winning business journalist specializing in transformative technology and innovation. Her articles have appeared in Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, The International Herald Tribune and The New York Times. In a past corporate life, Heather was editor of Computer Reseller News. She started her journalism lif... Full Bio

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