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Data Centers Hold Potential for Significant Energy Efficiency Opportunities

By CP Editorial Staff - August 2007 - Data Centers


Data centers in the U.S. have the potential to save up to $4 billion in annual electricity costs through more energy efficient equipment and operations, and the broad implementation of best management practices, according to a recent report.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) "Report to Congress on Server and Data Center Energy Efficiency" recommends priority efficiency opportunities and policies that can also lead to additional savings using state-of-the-art technologies and operations.

Over the last five years the increase in use of data centers, and the power and cooling infrastructure that supports them, have doubled energy use, increased greenhouse gas emissions and raised concerns about power grid reliability.

Findings from the report include:
- Data centers consumed about 60 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) in 2006, roughly 1.5 percent of total U.S. electricity consumption.
- The energy consumption of servers and data centers has doubled in the past five years and is expected to almost double again in the next five years to more than 100 billion kWh, costing about $7.4 billion annually.
- Federal servers and data centers alone account for approximately 6 billion kWh (10 percent) of this electricity use, at a total electricity cost of about $450 million per year.
- Existing technologies and strategies could reduce typical server energy use by an estimated 25 percent, with even greater energy savings possible with advanced technologies.

The report is in response to a 2006 request by Congress that EPA examines market trends in the growth and energy use of servers and data centers.




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