Data Centers to Get Energy Star Ratings

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is wrapping up work on an Energy Star program for data centers that it hopes to launch in June.

The goals of the program are to give organizations a greater incentive to improve the energy efficiency of their data centers, and to give them a way to track the results of efficiency initiatives over time, said Alexandra Sullivan, an EPA program engineer who described the effort at a recent green IT conference.

Data centers that participate in the EPA program will use an online tool that ranks their efficiency on a scale of 1 to 100. Those that score 75 or higher can request an audit from the EPA, which awards qualified organizations the Energy Star certification.

The EPA has become increasingly active in data centers. It already has an Energy Star program for x86 servers, and it has started to develop programs for storage equipment and uninterruptible power supplies, or UPS systems.

The Energy Star certification will be based largely on the power usage effectiveness (PUE) metric, which is calculated by dividing the total power supplied to a data center by the amount that actually reaches IT equipment without being lost to cooling systems and inefficient power supplies.

The EPA will also take into account the energy output from the UPS systems. That means that while data centers with good PUE scores will tend to get higher rankings, that metric will not be the only factor, Sullivan said.

This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It's an edited version of an article that first ran on

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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