EPA Wants Tax Breaks
for IT Energy Efficiency"> The U.S. Environmental Protection Agencys Energy Star program has submitted a report to Congress calling for tax incentives to promote IT energy conservation. The report predicts that energy consumption by servers and data centers will double by 2011 and calls on the federal government to lead by example to achieve energy conservation goals.The Energy Star certification is similar to existing programs for household appliances, such as refrigerators, ovens and clothes dryers. The report, originally due to Congress on June 16, was requested by Congress in legislation passed in December 2006, introduced by Reps. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., and Mike Rogers, R-Mich. Read more here about why Congress initiated the study of energy consumption in the nations data centers. The EPAs Aug. 3 report to Congress highlights these key findings:
meeting in Silicon Valley last February, in which IT companies and service providers were shown an eye-opening report from Lawrence Livermore Laboratory and Stanford University about the rapid rate of power consumption in data centers during the last five years.
That report, written by Stanford Professor Jon Koomey,"Estimating Total Power Consumption by Servers in the U.S. and the World," (PDF) was funded by AMD and peer-reviewed by the major server and processor makers, including Intel, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems and Dell.
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The report stresses that the industry must focus on building only low-power, Energy Star-rated servers in order to slow demand for electrical power. It also outlines existing and emerging opportunities for energy efficiency and voluntary programs to promote energy-efficient servers and data centers.
- Assuming current trends continue, the national energy consumption by servers and data centers is expected to nearly double by 2011.
- Data centers consumed about 61 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) in 2006, roughly 1.5 percent of total U.S. electricity consumption, or about $4.5 billion in electricity costs.
- Federal servers and data centers alone account for approximately 6 billion kWh (10 percent) of this electricity use, at a total electricity cost of about $400 million per year.
- Existing technologies and strategies could reduce typical server energy use by 25 percenteven greater energy savings are possible with advanced technologies.
- Financial incentives, e.g. tax credits and utility rebates
- An Energy Star whole-building performance rating system for data centers
- Standardized performance metrics for data centers
- Federal leadership through best practices, public/private partnerships, education, training and development of Energy Star specifications for servers and related product categories
- Federal/industry research and development