WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that stand-alone data centers and buildings that house large data centers can now earn the Energy Star label. To earn the label, data centers must be in the top 25 percent of their peers in energy efficiency according to EPA’s energy performance scale.

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. Before being awarded the Energy Star, a third-party licensed professional must independently verify energy performance and sign and seal the application document that is sent to EPA for review and approval.

According to EPA, data centers use a significant amount of energy, accounting for 1.5 percent of total U.S. electricity consumption at a cost of $4.5 billion annually, an amount that is expected to almost double over the next five years.

Significant energy and cost savings are possible through modest gains in efficiency, said EPA. Based on the latest available data, 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.

EPA said data centers can improve energy efficiency in a number of ways, such as purchasing Energy Star-qualified servers and ensuring that all HVAC equipment functions properly.

For more information about Energy Star for data centers, visit www.energystar.gov/datacenters.

Publication date:06/21/2010