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Washington Focuses on Data Center Energy Efficiency

When was the last time you remember the US Congress actually agreeing on a bill that impacted your business?  Well, you may well have to reset the timer because on March 5th, 2014, a bill with extremely strong bipartisan support passed the House of Representatives. This bill could mandate data center efficiency standards for years to come.

Datacenter Dynamics has an excellent overview of the bill.  To sum it up:

Several federal agencies would be required to develop standards for measuring data center performance, including:

    • Adopting more advanced energy metering
    • Employing advanced power management tools
    • Optimizing data centers usage.

How Will This Affect You?

The goal of this bill is to reduce the energy usage of government data center facilities, saving the US tax payer approximately $110 million per year.

Of course the key word in that bill is FEDERAL data centers. But before anyone dismisses this initiative for currently targeting only government facilities, we would remind you that regulations such as this have an interesting way of not only trickling down to the private sector, but also expanding their scope as they do so. Energy Star anyone?

After all, hasn’t the rallying cry for data center managers not been “POWER EFFICIENCY FOR ALL” for years now? This may be the first formal shot across the bow.

Do Some Prep Work

At the very least expect this bill, if passed by the Senate, to establish some fairly aggressive benchmark standards for:

  • Energy usage
  • Capacity planning
  • kW/Hour
  • PUE

These benchmarks will likely apply to only Federal facilities for the time being but expect them to be adopted by state and local entities and eventually become the norm for the private sector as well.

Our Suggestions for All Data Center Professionals

  • Stay apprised of the progress of this bill and start thinking about what tools you can put in place now to position your facility to be prepared if (or when) mandates begin to trickle down to the private sector.
  • Begin benchmarking your facility now for power usage, capacity utilization, airflow efficiency, and CFD so you know where you stand.
  • Start considering tools that will enable you to decrease your power usage now so you are not scrambling later.

RLE Will Keep You Informed

This bill has just recently been passed to the Senate for discussion but given the bipartisan support it received in the House, we expect it to pass fairly easily. We will continue to monitor the status and keep our blog followers apprised of the situation.

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