EPA needs data center energy data

Environmental Protection Agency officials want to give data centers Energy Star certification for energy use efficiency, but they need more information to define measurements.

The Energy Department's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office found that data centers accounted for 1.2 percent of electricity use nationwide in 2005. EPA and DOE in mid-March launched an effort to collect data center energy information, named the National Data Center Energy Efficiency Program.

Kathleen Vokes, a member of the Energy Star product development team at EPA, said today that to define those measurements, the program needs to collect energy use information from data centers.

However, only 54 centers have volunteered to provide data to the program. Vokes wants information from 100 centers, but the monitoring will begin June 1 regardless of how many centers volunteer.

Vokes also said the program must collect more information on how the centers perform before technology evolves.

“Data centers are advancing so quickly, [and] there just isn’t enough information right now,” Vokes said today. She spoke on a panel at the Green Computing Summit sponsored by the 1105 Media Group, which owns Federal Computer Week.

Vokes said her agency wants to be able to compare the energy use of data centers with the overall use of the buildings that house them. The ratio would form a rough basis of comparison before comparing the data with the function and reliability of the centers and the climate of their locations.

Vokes said the program will collect the first set of data July 1, with quarterly reports until the project closes June 1, 2009.

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