Energy Star launches server initiative

Now that it has received presidential approval, the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program has kicked off its study on the feasibility of building more energy-efficient servers.

The agaency has 180 days to submit a study to Congress detailing its findings.

Last week, President Bush signed into law HR 5646, which calls on the EPA to study and promote the use of energy-efficient servers in the United States.

"In the coming months, EPA will conduct an analysis to determine whether such a specification for servers is viable given current market dynamics, the availability and performance of energy-efficient designs, and the potential energy savings," Energy Star program manager Andrew Fanara wrote in a letter sent yesterday to server component and system manufacturers.

The Energy Star program has long encouraged the usage of energy-efficient consumer household items. Products meeting the program's guidelines for delivering equal performance at reduced electricity consumption get the Energy Star approval, which manufacturers can use as a customer marketing tool. Thus far more than 35,000 items, ranging from refrigerators to battery chargers, carry the Energy Star label. The program estimates that Energy Star products saved more than $12 billion in energy use in 2005.

Data center power consumption threatens to become an issue in large organizations in the years to come. Most organizations will buy more servers, and these servers will use more power. Organizations may face rising utility bills and even power shortages should this trend continue, the program contends.

Energy Star officials have already spent this last year meeting with industry personnel, hoping to get a better idea of what would go into a specification for servers. Officials looked at ways of standardizing testing and reporting procedures on energy usage, as well as writing consumption benchmarks for data centers.

"Because Energy Star works across such a broad variety of industries, we're in a good position to bring together stakeholders from different product areas to have a dialogue about what might be possible," Andrew Fanara told GCN in an earlier interview.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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