Data centers use a significant amount of energy, accounting for 1.5% of total U.S. electricity consumption at a cost of US$4.5 billion annually, an amount that is expected to almost double over the next five years.
Improving the energy efficiency of U.S. data centers by just 10% would save more than 6 billion kilowatt-hours each year, enough to power more than 350,000 homes and save more than US$450 million annually.
To earn the Energy Star label, a data center must be in the top 25% of its peers in terms of energy efficiency, as measured by EPA's energy performance scale. The EPA uses the commonly accepted Power Usage Effectiveness metric to qualify a data center for the Energy Star label.
Before being awarded the Energy Star, a licensed professional must independently verify the energy performance of the building and sign and seal the application document, which is then sent to the EPA for review and approval.
DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) has been studying energy use in data centers for years, and has compiled a list of 67 best practices for data centers, covering such topics as air delivery systems and water systems for cooling, internal and external power supplies, and other issues.
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