Energy Star for Data Centers program off to a slow start

May 10, 2011
EPA says few facilities have reported enough energy-use data even to be rated.

The Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star for Data Centers program kicked off nearly a year ago, and to date the EPA lists only eight facilities as having earned the Energy Star label. An article that will appear in the May 2011 issue of Cabling Installation & Maintenance magazine references a recent presentation made by the manager of the Energy Star program Michael Zatz. While speaking at a Green Grid Technical Forum in March, Zatz said that approximately 600 data centers have entered their energy-use information into the online benchmarking tool Portfolio Manager, which the EPA uses to generate ratings for Energy Star consideration. However, of those approximately 600, only about 125 have provided sufficient information to generate a rating. Most likely, the article says, facilities have not provided a full 12 months worth of data and therefore cannot generate a rating.

The article also cites the EPA's Zatz as saying that many individuals who enter their facilities' information into Portfolio Manager incorrectly classify spaces like telecommunications rooms as data centers. Additionally, few operators measure IT energy use and many are unable to separate IT energy use from the non-IT load, it continues.

To earn the Energy Star label, a data center has to be in the top 25 percent of its peers in energy efficiency, according to the Power Usage Effectiveness metric.

The article also mentions June 2011 as a looming deadline for data center facilities aiming to earn the Energy Star label. After June 2012, actual measurements - as opposed to efficiency estimates - will be the only data permitted in applications for the label. Because applications must include 12 months of IT energy data, facilities will have to install meters by June 2011 in order to have a full year of actual measured data in June 2012.

The EPA lists the facilities that have earned the Energy Star for Data Centers label on its website. The list is updated whenever a new facility earns the designation. You can see the list here.

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