Data Centers

House passes federal data center efficiency bill

data center cages

A bipartisan energy conservation bill easily passed by the House this week includes provisions to put federal data centers on a path to operating more efficiently.

The measure, which the House passed 375-36 on March 5, would require the Office of Management and Budget, the EPA and the Department of Energy to lead the development of standards for measuring data center performance, including adopting more advanced energy metering and power management tools, and optimizing the use of data centers so money and energy aren’t wasted powering and cooling underutilized systems.

The bill, sponsored by West Virginia Republican David McKinley, also would require OMB to set a performance goal for agencies to evaluate their success in acquiring and using energy efficient IT, with the CIO Council charged with setting best practices for achieving the goals.

Under the bill, OMB would be required to update a 2007 report that is used as a baseline for energy efficiency. Additionally, the bill would create an open data project on federal IT energy use, to allow for businesses and innovators to come up with their own solutions for the problems of data center efficiency.

The data center provisions were introduced in February as a stand-alone measure by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.). That bill was folded into the broader package of four measures that the House passed March 5.

"My legislation will save the federal government energy and money by requiring the use of energy-efficient and energy-saving technologies, specifically in federal data centers," Eshoo said in a statement, citing an estimate by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy that pegs cost savings from federal data center efficiency at $1.64 billion over 15 years.

Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) introduced a version of the data center bill in the Senate last June, but it has seen no action.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is FCW's senior staff writer, and covers Congress, health IT and governmentwide IT policy. Connect with him on Twitter: @thisismaz.

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