WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) joined with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and industry leaders to announce an agreement on energy efficiency measurements, metrics, and reporting conventions for data center facilities. As data center usage continues to escalate and energy costs rise, energy efficiency has become a growing concern for data center owners and operators. DOE noted that there has been no standard approach for such key questions as how to measure energy usage, where to take the measurements, and how frequently to do the measuring. As a result, data center operators have difficulty identifying energy usage problems as well as potential solutions.

The new agreement provides guiding principles for data center operators to gauge energy use and create opportunities for improved energy performance. By providing clear direction for data center energy management, the groups participating in the agreement hope to spur data center operators to improve their measurement practices, leading to higher efficiency and reduced energy consumption.

DOE said that, given the rapidly increasing number of data centers nationwide and the steady growth in size and corresponding electricity demand of individual facilities, improving energy efficiency in data centers is an important part of reducing overall energy use in the information and communications technology sectors. The progress made in this agreement will also support the Department of Energy’s broader goal of reducing industrial energy intensity 25 percent over the next 10 years.

Organizations that collaborated in the effort to develop these guiding principles include the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), 7x24 Exchange, The Green Grid, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, DOE’s Save Energy Now and Federal Energy Management Programs, EPA’s Energy Star® program, the U.S. Green Building Council, and the Uptime Institute.

A task force has been created to further refine the metrics and to identify a roadmap for the future.

Publication date:03/08/2010