data center (Tomasz Wozniak/Shutterstock.com)

Energy Star updating data center efficiency scores

To drive energy efficiency improvements among U.S. data centers, the Environmental Protection Agency has updated its Energy Star certification for data storage products and will be revising its 1-100 Energy Star score for data centers.

Data center energy use has grown over the last 10 years, but improvements in energy efficiency -- at the network hardware, storage and building levels -- have mostly offset this growth, EPA officials said. Between 2010 and 2018, data center computing grew by 500%, while data center energy use only grew by 6% percent. Much of the recent efficiency in servicers, storage, network switchers and routers has been driven by the Energy Star program, officials said.

Recent updates to Energy Star data center storage product specifications added active-mode requirements and more efficient power supplies. The program also added new how-to content and case studies to its website.

The program has also been rating data center owners and operators since 2010, assigning a 1-100 score for the energy efficiency of their entire facility compared to similar facilities nationwide. Starting this fall, EPA will partner with The Green Grid, a data center industry association, to survey of data centers’ energy and water use to and identify specific operating factors likely to influence energy consumption and update its scoring. 

Data centers are one of the most energy-intensive building types, EPA officials said, consuming 10 to 50 times more energy per square foot than a typical office building.

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