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This chapter is from the book


This topic was mentioned at the end of Chapter 2, “The Basics of Green IT,” and is covered in more detail in Chapter 4, “The Government’s Role—Regulation and EPA Activity.” With all the recent publicity on the growth of energy use by Enterprise Level IT equipment, the 2008 quantity of energy use—about 2 percent of 2008 global energy use; and the expected double-digit increases in data center energy growth for the next five years (Koomey 2007, 2008)—various governments around the world are taking action to encourage data center operators to improve their energy performance of their data centers. If we look at all IT energy use (including the energy used for all our laptops), the percent of global energy use is approaching 10 percent.

Current government initiatives include the following:

  • US EPA ENERGY STAR data center rating system: As mentioned previously, US EPA has an ENERGY STAR building program. It is currently working on a data center rating system. It released a draft document for comments, for which companies provided input by 2/22/08. Its initial proposal appears to be focused on a variation of the PUE. Comments have been made on the rating system proposal, suggesting that the rating system consider the percent of equipment that utilizes virtualization technology and power management and measuring technology (like AEM), as well as facilities with thermal and space planning and regular review of thermal profiling (for example, via MMT, tile flow, and so on). Beginning in March 2008, the EPA began soliciting data centers to test the rating system. IBM intends to have one or two data centers participate in the testing.
  • DOE Save Energy Now Data Center initiative: Also, as mentioned previously, the DOE is partnering with the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab to develop a model that characterizes the power use and thermal profile of the data center. The software tool will collect specific energy-use data for the data center, calculate the DCIE metric, create estimated energy-use breakouts by system, and prepare a list of applicable energy-saving actions. Concurrently, it is preparing a data center energy assessment program, based on the LBNL best practices checklists, which can be used by energy service providers to assess data center energy use and recommend specific energy-savings actions.
  • EU Code of Conduct for data centers: The European Code of Conduct for data centers was published in 2008. The EU CoC is an excellent publication to help improve energy efficiency in data centers. Thus, the EU CoC was published before the EPA's ratings for data centers.
  • Other geographies: Australia is beginning to talk about initiating a data center energy-efficiency effort and has contacted IBM representatives about participating in such a program.

Overall, industry information on system power demands, utilization, and opportunities for energy-efficiency improvements in data centers have made it clear that there are significant worldwide opportunities to reduce energy usage in data centers. In turn, they are promoting energy-efficiency programs to encourage public and private entities to capture those opportunities.

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