New On-line Tool Available for Saving Energy at Federal Data Centers

August 28, 2007

Data centers are among the most energy-intensive facilities in the federal sector (as well as among local and state governmental facilities), having energy use and intensity typically orders of magnitude greater than other buildings. Data centers are also becoming increasingly common across numerous agencies, including the Departments of Homeland Security, Defense, and Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Internal Revenue Service, National Institutes of Health, and others, as they cope with the increasing demands of having to handle enormous amounts of data. Previously exempt from Executive Orders for energy reduction, federal data centers now must meet federal requirements under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct) for 2 percent energy reductions per year.

As an indication of the importance of public sector computing, many of the top 500 "supercomputer" centers are federal or other public facilities. To meet this challenge, FEMP's Technical Assistance program supported the development of a Web-based guide to assist federal energy managers—and others—in identifying the best solutions for controlling energy use in these facilities. The reality is that in the near term, energy use is likely to increase in these buildings as demands for more computing power increases. Steps taken now can minimize these increases, and help show that facility managers are addressing the goals of EPAct.

Resources such as this new Web-based tool are particularly important for federal agencies, which are mandated under EPAct to measure and report their facility consumption. FEMP offers extensive support for energy management at federal facilities, including many items specifically relevant to data centers.

The Data Center Energy Management Web site allows a user to:

  • Diagnose Energy Inefficiencies and Rate a Data Center's "Energy IQ" — by comparing your data center to the benchmarking results for top performers
  • Specify State-of-the-art Solutions — using detailed guides to 67 best practices
  • Generate Clear Design Intent Documents — using a pre-defined design intent tool "template" for recording data center energy efficiency objectives, strategies
  • Evaluate Cost-Effectiveness — by considering both the "straight economics" of energy efficiency improvements, as well as non-energy benefits that are central to making the business case for investing in improved efficiency
  • Explore Real World Examples — that show the application of best practices and the magnitude of savings that can result
  • Calculate Impacts and Savings — using practical software tools to help users achieve energy savings and make the economic case to decision makers and managers at the data centers and management
  • Stay on the Cutting Edge — with information on leading-edge research and new technologies just emerging in the marketplace
  • Apply the Information — by following a series of exercises to evaluate real data centers
  • Learn More — using links to an extensive body of resources from the trade press and research institutions

Visit the tool online. For more information, please contact Rick Diamond of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory 510 486-4459.