Green Grid introduces three new energy efficiency metrics for data centres

The Green Grid – the organisation responsible for developing the power usage effectiveness (PUE) metric – has announced three new energy efficiency metrics designed to help data centre owners and operators improve the performance of their facilities.

The three new metrics are: the Green Energy Coefficient (GEC), the Energy Reuse Factor (ERF) and the Carbon Usage Effectiveness (CUE) metric.

The Green Energy Coefficient quantifies the portion of a facility’s energy that comes from green sources. The metric is computed as green energy consumed by the data centre (kWh) divided by total energy consumed by the data centre (kWh).

Meanwhile, the Energy Reuse Factor identifies the portion of energy that is exported for reuse outside of the data centre. ERF is computed as reuse energy divided by total energy consumed by the data centre.

Finally, Carbon Usage Effectiveness enables an assessment of the total greenhouse gas emissions of a data centre relative to its IT energy consumption. CUE is computed as the total carbon dioxide emission equivalents (CO2eq) from the energy consumption of the facility divided by the total IT energy consumption.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for the data centre community to understand and embrace these metrics, and how they can work together,” said Joyce Dickerson, board member of The Green Grid.

“When implemented correctly, they can save organisations a lot of time, money, and additional resources. Although there is more work to do, we think this will bring us one step closer to a universally adopted set of metrics, indices, and measurement protocols that will have a positive impact on the industry.”

Measurement guidelines and next steps for the three new efficiency metrics were agreed upon by a taskforce of global leaders from government, industry and the non-profit sector.

The taskforce is made up of the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office and Federal Energy Management Programs, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Program, the European Commission Joint Research Center Data Centers Code of Conduct, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan’s Green IT Promotion Council and The Green Grid.

According to The Green Grid, the taskforce intends to continue collaboration as an ongoing effort to improve data centre energy and greenhouse gas emission efficiencies.

Specifically, the taskforce will work towards two remaining goals: agreeing on effective energy efficiency metrics that measure IT work output of a data centre compared to energy consumption, and measuring operational utilisation of IT Equipment.

The group meets regularly with representatives from each organisation every six to 12 months.

“Taking an environmentally intelligent approach to energy efficiency will be critical to satisfy the demands of the regulatory authorities and the data centres clients compliance teams,” said Dominic Philips, managing director of Datum, commenting on the news.

“Data centres cannot claim easily to be green, but what they can do is ensure that energy is used efficiently and intelligently.”

Full details of the recommendations for use of each metric are available in a memo entitled Harmonizing Global Metrics for Data Center Energy Efficiency, available here.

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Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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