EPA to data center operators: We want your energy stats

Ok, here's the skinny. As I mentioned last week, the Environmental Protection Agency -- the folks who brought you the original Energy Star program for client IT gear like desktops and monitors -- have launched in earnest their project to get a better grip on the power consumption associated with data center facilities.

Ok, here's the skinny. As I mentioned last week, the Environmental Protection Agency -- the folks who brought you the original Energy Star program for client IT gear like desktops and monitors -- have launched in earnest their project to get a better grip on the power consumption associated with data center facilities. The details can be found here.

Essentially, the EPA is asking data center operators to provide 12 months of information about different operating conditions associated with the data center facility itself (not the servers, as those are being tracked as part of a different project). Mike Zatz, manager of the EPA's Energy Star commercial buildings program, says the agency hopes to encourage participation from around 100 different facilities of all sizes and from all geographies.

The first organization to sign up to cough up this information was 365 Main, which runs five facilities that represent more than 1 million square feet of data center space nationwide in five different places. (Only 95 to go!) The collection program kicks off officially on June 1, and the main period will last about 15 months in order to collect enough historical information from all the sites, according to Zatz. (365Main actually has historical data, so it's ahead of the game.) Any company providing information for the benchmark will receive a report analyzing how they perform compared with the average.

Miles Kelly, vice president of marketing for 365 Main, said his company has also become an Energy Star partner. That means it will aid in the future development of the Energy Star performance rating system for data centers as well as use any tools that the agency develops to manage energy efficiency metrics. The first edition of the specification will likely come out late in 2009, once all the data from the benchmarking phase has been crunched, according to Zatz.

Along with the benchmarking, the EPA is planning all sorts of other activities bringing the data center into the Energy Star world. They include providing access to the Department of Energy Save Energy Now DC Pro tools; the creation of efficiency experts, who will be designated as "Save Energy Now Qualified Specialists," a labeling activities -- including one that denotes best-in-class facilities. Here are some materials about the other aspects of the program.

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