Inside the Green Grid’s action plan

A lack of E.U. regulatory or voluntary initiatives addressing the energy efficiency of data centres risked the creation of “confusion, mixed messages and uncoordinated activities,” industry consortium the Green Grid was told last week.

The consortium held its technical committee meeting in San Francisco last week with input from U.S., Japanese and European concerns.

From a European perspective it was said that there was a “need for independent assessment and coordination tailored to European conditions such as the climate and energy markets regulation” and a proposed Code of Conduct “to provide a platform to bring together European stakeholders to discuss and agree voluntary actions which will improve energy efficiency.”

The committee heard that data center energy use in U.S. by 2011 will equal 100 billion kWh or 2.5 percent of total electricity costing about US$7 billion. In 2006, it was $4.5 billion. Power demand is growing by 12 percent per year and cooling and power needs can be described as “industrial in terms of size and complexity.”

The grid laid out a number of initiatives including save energy now, outlined metrics for energy use in data centers and attempted to lay the ground work for international agreements on a code of conduct, product specifications and best practice.

The consortium set its goal of a 10 percent data center energy savings by 2011, equivalent to cutting 10.7 billion kWh and reducing green house gas emissions by 6.5 million tonnes of CO2.

By 2011 the Green Grid hopes to achieve collective goals of 3000 US data centers to have completed awareness training and 1500 to have applied assessment tools to cut energy use. The initial target is also for 200 enterprise data centers to have improved energy efficiency through accelerated virtualisation, deployment of high efficiency servers, use of new power sources such as fuel cells, optimised cooling and combining heat and power systems. It aims to have 200 qualified specialists in data center energy efficiency to be have been appointed.

It is hoped that the the savings will be made through power conversion and distribution, high voltage distribution, move to DC power, alternative power generation such as on site generation through renewables, and use of fuel cells and waste heat for cooling.