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DOE Targets Energy Efficiency in Data Centers

By CP Editorial Staff September 2007 - Energy Efficiency

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has signed a memorandum of understanding with The Green Grid to increase energy efficiency in the ever-growing information technology sector. The Green Grid is a consortium of information technology companies seeking to lower the overall consumption of power in data centers around the globe.

The memorandum intends to focus on assisting data center operators and facilities in initiating and implementing energy-management programs and adopting clean energy and efficiency technologies. Specifically, the memorandum identifies future activities DOE and The Green Grid might collaborate on to:

• develop a common set of metrics and tools
• develop a web site so data centers can easily access tools and resources to initiate and implement an energy-management program
• encourage data centers to obtain energy savings assessments
• train company personnel in conducting energy-savings assessments and in using tools to identify energy-efficiency enhancements
•  define areas of pre-competitive research and development for data center operations.

The DOE and The Green Grid also have set a common goal of improving overall energy efficiency in data centers by 10 percent by 2011, factoring in current projected data center use. About 10 billion kilowatt-hours would be saved, equivalent to electricity used by 1 million U.S. households annually. These energy savings would also reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 6.5 million tons per year – equivalent to removing nearly 1.3 million cars from the road annually.

Because data centers are among the fastest-growing industries in the United States, the DOE has identified them as key to increasing energy efficiency, reducing load on the electricity grid, and enhancing data center reliability. Last year, data centers were estimated to have used 61 billion kilowatt-hours, or 1.5 percent of electricity in the United States, and it is projected to grow 12 percent per year through 2011.

Since 2005, the DOE has completed 344 energy savings assessments in some of the Nation’s most energy-intensive companies. These assessments have identified more than $585 million in potential savings. View the MOU, more information on DOE’s energy savings assessments, and more about DOE Partnering with Computer Data Centers.


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