Easier to be Green
Reaction to the Aug. 3 EPA report was swift and generally positive. "It should significantly boost awareness of the energy issues associated with our ever-increasing reliance on computers, and it provides a very preliminary set of benchmarks," Eric Birch, executive vice president of thermal and airflow solution provider DegreeC in Milford, N.H., told eWEEK.NetApp shared a great deal of input and information with the EPA, Chris Bennett, vice president of core systems at NetApp, in Sunnyvale, Calif., told eWEEK. "As a result, the report recognized the companys use of distributed generation and a combined heat and power system, stating that innovative uses of power are among the ways that data center operators can reduce energy usage and costs," Bennett said. NetApp felt it was important to engage in this process with the EPA, given the companys own success with these innovations, Bennett said. "In fact, since implementing these solutions, we have already reduced our electric bill by $60,000, eliminated 94 tons of air conditioning, and cut our storage footprint by 75 percent," Bennett said. "Our engineers have calculated that these energy savings are the equivalent of taking 212 cars off the road." The report is an important step in educating customers, policymakers and the public on opportunities to conserve energy in data centers, said Paul Perez, HP vice president for scalable data center infrastructure, in Palo Alto, Calif. "As a leading provider of energy-efficient products for data centers, HP advocated for the legislation authorizing this report and was pleased to collaborate with the EPA to provide ideas to improve energy efficiency," he said. To read the entire EPA report, go here (PDF). To read an executive summary of the report, go here (PDF). Are "no cooling necessary" data centers on the horizon? Find out here. "HP is reviewing the EPAs recommendations on standards, research and development, and partnerships to determine possible adoption of policies that encourage the public and private sectors to use available technologies to reduce data center energy consumption," Perez said. What is next on the agenda? "We can count on the EPA to develop an extension of the Energy Star benchmark concepts to computer servers and to promote standard efficiency metrics," Birch told eWEEK. "I expect government at all levels to be early adopters of any new benchmarks in their own purchasing policies [just as many are now mandating no more purchases of incandescent lighting]. "I also expect many industry groups will develop and promote voluntary standards to prove they are doing something." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.
"I expect many organizationscorporations, universities, cities and stateswill find various stakeholders asking new and more pointed questions about whats being done and whats the plan," Birch said. "The questions may come from the desire to go green, or they may be mainly about the money, but by September [after everyone returns from vacation], all sorts of organizations will need to have some answers for such questions their stakeholders will be asking."