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EPA to Begin Energy Star Ratings for Data Centers

energystarlogoThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is developing an energy performance rating system for data centers, tentatively planned for early 2010, according to a ComputerWorld article written by Michael Zatz, manager of Energy Star commercial buildings at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

With the rating system, data center operators will be able to assess the energy use of their facilities and will receive a metric that allows them to compare how they are performing relative to their peers, he said.

Based on the EPA’s 1-to-100 rating system, data center operators will enter basic information about their energy use and operational characteristics into a password-protected account they establish in the EPA’s Portfolio Manager, an online energy-benchmarking tool, Zatz said. A score of 50 indicates average performance, and a score of 75 or higher means the facility is in the top 25 percent in terms of energy efficiency, qualifying the data center for an Energy Star label.

The agency is nearing the end of a 12-month effort to collect data on energy use and operations from over 100 data centers of all types and sizes, with the release of the Energy Star rating for data centers marking the culmination of more than two years of work by the EPA and hundreds of stakeholders, Zatz said in the article.

The EPA’s ultimate goal is to refine the rating so that it is based on measures that compare the output or work from the data center with its energy use.

Consulting firm McKinsey predicts that by 2020 the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions could come from information and communications products and technologies including laptops and PCs, mobile phones, data centers and computing and telecommunications networks.

According to a recent Data Center Energy Forecast Report from Accenture, data centers can reduce electricity use by as much as 55 percent by 2011 if they leverage technologies available today such as IT consolidation and modular cooling.

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