EPA Releases New Energy Star Specification for Data Center Products

With industry forecasts predicting that server and data center energy consumption will nearly double from 2006 to 2011 nationally, the U.S. EPA is encouraging organizations to improve data center energy efficiency.

To help organizations meet this goal, the EPA has announced updates to the energy efficiency requirements for a variety of Energy Star qualified products and equipment for data centers.

"All Energy Star labeled data center products will come with an associated Power and Performance Datasheet (PPDS) that lists product information and detailed test results," said EPA. "Energy Star recognizes that data center products are highly complex systems that require more than just a label to understand their energy performance. All data center products will be tested according to their specific Energy Star test procedure, the results of which will be reported in a standardized format in the PPDS."

In the update, EPA announced new spec process for Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS), Data Center Storage, and Servers V2.0.

Energy Star Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) Specification - Version 1.0

The Energy Star Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPSs) v1.0 specification will be finalized and become effective in Q1 2012. It applies to nearly every UPS product on the market, from consumer-scale up through multi-MW data center systems.

An average Energy Star labeled data center UPS will recoup between 15 and 25 percent of its original purchase cost during its lifetime. For example, the average 1 MW Energy Star system will save approximately 266 MWh of energy per year, equivalent to saving $200,000 over the 15-year lifetime of the product—and many Energy Star products will save even more.

With more efficient Energy Star UPS systems data centers can stop dropping kWh on the floor before they’ve even touched the centers’ IT load.

Energy Star Data Center Storage Specification - Version 1.0

The Energy Star Data Center Storage v1.0 specification will be final and effective in mid-2012. It covers the range of storage products found in the SNIA Emerald taxonomy under the Online 2, 3, and 4 categories, including systems composed of both traditional HDDs and newer SSDs.

Energy Star will identify the top 25 percent most efficient storage products on the market by their idle state performance and will work toward active power measurement and labeling for a future v2.0 of the specification. Both idle and active measurements will enable customers to examine the energy performance of Energy Star storage systems to better understand and control their operating costs.

Energy Star Servers  Specification - Version 2.0

The Energy Star Servers v2.0 specification will be final in mid-2012 and effective in late 2012 or early 2013. It covers traditional rack and pedestal servers with anywhere from one to four processor sockets and also covers blade servers.  Servers that currently earn the Energy Star under v1.1 are, on average, about 30 percent more energy efficient than standard servers.

One or two socket Energy Star servers currently save anywhere from $200 to $500 each over their lifetimes—and double that amount if savings from reduced cooling loads are factored in. These savings, as well as those for larger servers and blade systems, will increase once v2.0 is finalized in 2012.

Additionally, Energy Star is collaborating with Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC) in developing an active power performance measurement tool known as SERT, which will provide customers with information about the energy performance of servers running common workloads.

In addition to the spec updates, EPA has also developed a downloadable brochure to help organizations decrease energy consumption ion the data center.

Advice provided in the brochure covers server virtualization, server consolidation and tips on investing in technologies that use energy more efficiently. The brochure, titled "Top 12 Ways to decrease the Energy Consumption of Your Data Center," is free to download on the Energy Star website.

This article was originally published on January 9, 2012
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