New global warming rules put the heat on data centers

By Robert J. Mullins, Network World |  Hardware

If green accounts for 50 percent of the electricity generated, the price rises to $0.063 per kw-hr and carbon reduction rises to 46 percent.

If the power is 100 percent green, the rate hits $0.093 per kw-hr and carbon reduction hits 95 percent.

There is no doubt that greenhouse gas emission controls on power plants under the new EPA regulations will make electricity more expensive for data centers, which creates an incentive for energy efficiency, according to a recent article in The Data Center Journal.

"For data centers, this policy clearly translates into higher operating expenses, although on the upside,' it could make certain energy-efficiency improvements seem more economical," the article, published shortly after Obama's directive, stated.

The article goes on to say, "In some cases, investments in efficiency -- particularly in data centers with high PUEs [power usage effectiveness] -- could offset or even reverse increases in energy costs resulting from new regulations.'' 

(A PUE, established by the Green Grid, is a ranking of the energy efficiency of a data center; the lower the PUE, the more energy-efficient it is.)

Are data centers ready?

The attention to energy efficiency in data centers varies, says Nicole Peill-Moelter, the director of environmental sustainability at Akamai Technologies, a provider of application and content delivery technology and services.

Akamai operates data centers globally, including in California, and contracts with third-party data centers there, too, says Peill-Moelter. While Akamai constantly works to improve energy efficiency at its data centers, some of the third party data centers Akamai uses are behind the times.

"I've gone to some of the data centers where we have equipment hosted and a lot of these data centers don't have implemented even the basic energy efficiency measures," Peill-Moelter says. "They pass the costs directly onto their clients."

There are a number of steps data center operators can take to improve energy efficiency and the IT industry overall is already moving on many of them.

Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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