Energy Star Label for Data Centers Open for Business

Energy Star Label for Data Centers Open for Business

The EPA today unveiled its new and long-awaited Energy Star certification for buildings that house data centers and stand-alone facilities, marking a big step forward for energy efficiency in high-tech environments.

The new certification relies on PUE, or power usage effectiveness, to gauge the efficiency of a computing facility. PUE is a metric developed by the Green Grid consortium, and measures how much of total energy going into a data center is used for computing compared to lighting and cooling.

In order to earn the Energy Star label for a data center, the facility must be within the top 25 percent of their peers for PUE, and must be audited by a third party. The EPA collected energy usage information from more than 120 data centers between March 2008 and June 2009 in order to develop the levels.

Data center owners can begin the process to get their facilities certified with the EPA's online benchmarking tool, part of the Energy Star for commercial buildings certification.

The EPA last year launched its Energy Star for servers rating, one that was met with some skepticism as it was unveiled. Similarly, some industry watchers are worried about the data center certification: Because it relies solely on PUE to measure efficiency, it can skew the playing field for companies located in hotter parts of the country, since it can be easier to get a low PUE in a cold climate.

More details about the Energy Star for Data Centers certification is available from EnergyStar.gov/DataCenters.

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