James_2Everyone wants to make their data centers more efficient and
gain recognition for their efforts but we’re lacking the benchmarks to shoot
for. Well, here’s your chance to help change that. On March 20th the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) kicked off a data collection process to help create Energy
Star™ ratings for data centers. Energy Star, the best known energy efficiency
identifier, is respected as a mark of credibility for products and services
that deliver superior energy efficiency. While mainly a consumer mark, the EPA
recently published a draft standard for servers ,
its first serious foray into providing enterprise product and service guidance.
While extending Energy Star to your corporate data center, consumed only by
your own company, may not have customer impact, it has corporate brand value that
matters to the C-level executives. It will also have differentiating value when
choosing outsourced service providers.

While the US Green Building Council has now extended its
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) guidelines to data centers
and awarded the first several such distinctions,
the EPA is taking a more inclusive approach; one that takes the best of what you are doing today to drive efficiency
and captures it into standards everyone can adopt. The EPA hopes to collect
enough information from a vast number of data centers in order to develop
rating models

And this effort couldn’t come at a better time as nearly every IT solution
is touting its “greenness” and choosing the wrong solutions or technologies
could simply result in increased capital expense when the opex line of power is
rising steadily. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, reported in 2007 that the amount of electricity used by servers in the US in
2005 was 23 billion kWh; add in cooling and auxiliary power-consuming equipment
and the total jumped to 45 billion kWh. The total estimated bill: $2.7 billion.
The EPA states that power costs have risen by 30% since 2005, making this total
over $3.5B this year. What percent of this bill will you pay in 2008?

The value of any standard is directly related to
the ease with which it can be implemented; that reason alone should be
motivation to participate in this exercise. LEEDs for data centers require such
significant changes to traditional data center design that it will mainly be
applicable for enterprises undertaking greenfield
data center builds. Energy Star for data centers must expand to work with
existing facilities to achieve broad success. To participate, download the
necessary forms and get more information by clicking here.

By James Staten

Check out James’ research