House Green Lights EPA Data Centers Study


Lawmakers today directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to
analyze the benefits of energy efficient computing and data center design on
the energy supply chain.


On a 417-4 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 5646,
directing the EPA to conduct the study to expedite the adoption of energy-efficient servers and data centers.


The explosive growth of the Internet and related online applications is
creating a growing demand for data centers, large power-consuming facilities
housing servers and other communications equipment.


The growth in data centers is expected to dramatically increase power
demands and resulting energy costs.


“The cumulative energy cost for servers and data centers in the U.S. is
approximately $3.3 billion annually, and studies have shown energy efficient
servers can save up to 80 percent in electricity and cooling costs,” Rep.
Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) said in a statement.


Eschoo and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) co-sponsored the legislation. The bill
now moves to the U.S. Senate.


“The energy burden of these facilities will continue to grow rapidly, so
it’s critical for government, industry and consumers to be able to identify
the most efficient technology to meet their needs,” Eschoo said.


In a typical data center, every watt of power directly consumed by servers
and other equipment requires another watt of power for indirect power needs.
The average annual power costs for a 100,000 square foot data center is
nearly $6 million.


Those costs are expected to increase as companies deploy more servers
consuming more power and in the process emitting more heat that needs to be
dissipated.


“Data centers are the workhorse of the Internet, serving Web pages,
processing transactions, and storing vast amounts of digital information,”
David Douglas, eco-responsibility vice president for Sun Microsystems, said
in a statement shortly after the vote.


“However, data centers require energy to operate, and larger ones consume
enough power to meet the electricity needs of a small town.”


According to the Robert Francis Group, 41 percent of Fortune 500 IT
executives identified power and cooling as problems for their data centers.


The EPA study will examine the environmental impact of data centers and
investigate methods to reduce energy demand in hopes of encouraging the
adoption of more energy efficient servers.


“With one billion people online today and that number expected to increase
by 3 million people each week over the next two years, it is important
that we take action now to promote energy efficient data center technologies
that reduce energy consumption while meeting increased demand,” Douglas
said.

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