EPA to seek feedback on study of energy-efficient computing

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star program will soon release draft task reports on data center and server energy efficiency for comment by industry and federal stakeholders, an agency official said yesterday.

EPA officials want to post the task reports on the Energy Star Web site by the end of next week, said Andrew Fanara, program manager for EPA Energy Star. The comment period will only be open for two weeks after the posting of the draft task reports in order to meet the final deadline set by Congress.

In response to legislation enacted by Congress last year, officials from the Energy Star program and interested parties are conducting a study that analyzes the rapid growth and energy consumption of computer data centers.

The consumption of energy in data centers is a growing concern among industry and government officials. In 2005, U.S.-based data centers ' including servers, cooling and auxiliary equipment ' consumed 4.5 billion kilowatts hours resulting in electric bills that amounted to $3 billion, according to a study funded by Advanced Micro Devices that was released earlier this year.

The EPA study will assess opportunities for energy efficiency improvements to computer servers and data centers in the U.S. In addition, the study will assess potential cost and energy savings related to energy-efficient computing, and explore potential incentives and voluntary programs for promoting energy efficiency. The final study is due to Congress in June 2007.

The EPA study team compiling the report is not looking for a line-by-line critique of the draft, Fanara said. They want to know 'if we missed anything significant, or caught or appreciated [all] the dynamics inside data centers that need special attention,' he said.

Ultimately, the EPA wants to make it easier for federal equipment buyers to purchase energy-efficient computers, Fanara said. The federal government has to be an early adopter of such technology to lead by example, he said.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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