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EPA Launches Energy Star Ratings for Servers

energystarlogoThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has introduced its Energy Star for Servers program to make it easier for buyers to identify energy-efficient systems, reports CIO.com.

The EPA has been working with server makers for more than a year to decide which types of servers to cover and their criteria, according to CIO.com. The main criteria are the efficiency of a server’s power supply and the amount of power consumed at idle. Vendors also are required to publish power and performance data in a standard way for qualifying models and configurations, reports the magazine.

Andrew Fanara, who heads the Energy Star product programs, told CIO.com that the final program covers servers with up to four processor sockets and at least one hard drive, although blade servers may be added to the program in the next two months.

Fanara also told CIO.com that the program will be used mainly for industry-standard x86 servers, which account for the majority of shipments, though the specification doesn’t specify a specific processor architecture. He expects approximately 25 percent of servers shipped to qualify for the Energy Star logo.

The specification has been criticized for measuring idle consumption only, but the EPA has called it a useful first effort that gives customers a starting point to compare the efficiency of different systems. Fanara said in the article that the EPA is working on a “Tier 2” specification that will measure the work done for a given amount of energy, which he hopes to publish by January 1, 2010.

The EPA is also developing an energy performance rating system for enterprise storage and data centers. With the rating system, data center operators will be able to assess the energy use of their facilities and compare how they are performing relative to their peers.

The EPA also recently set new standards for commercial refrigerators and freezers to gain Energy Star certification. The new standards will require the appliances to be 33 percent more energy efficient than standard models. Computer monitors, digital picture frames and other electronic displays also have to meet more stringent standards.

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