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 executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy, health IT and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mr. Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian started his career as an arts reporter and critic, and has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, Architect magazine, and other publications. He was an editorial assistant and staff writer at the now-defunct New York Press and arts editor at the online network in the 1990s, and was a weekly contributor of music and film reviews to the Washington Times from 2007 to 2014.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.

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