Standard Performance Evaluation Corp. (SPEC), which creates performance benchmarks for servers, has released a test suite that is designed to let server buyers comparison-shop on the basis of energy efficiency.

Five server vendors helped develop the new benchmark, as did Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

A similar initiative is under way at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which is creating a version of its Energy Star rating for servers. Klaus-Dieter Lange, a senior performance engineer at Hewlett-Packard Co. who heads the SPEC subcommittee that developed the benchmark, said he thinks the EPA “will adapt what we came up with.”

SPEC’s benchmark covers only one kind of server workload now. Even so, “having real, measured data is a vast step forward,” said Jonathan Koomey, a staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and an adviser to the EPA.