EPA promotes federal data center cost savings through energy reduction
Coming expansions of the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program could impact government purchasing in datacenters and offices--eventually saving the government $470 million annually due to energy efficiencies.
The federal government is the single largest domestic buyer and user of energy, spending some $3 billion on energy in fiscal 2010, said Dana Arnold, director of the General Services Administration's program analysis division. Arnold spoke Oct. 23 at AFCEA-Bethesda's Smart Technology and Sustainability conference in Washington, D.C.
According to EPA estimates, the federal government is also one of the biggest IT purchasers on the planet. Arnold said IT energy demands across agencies have made it a target for reduction and one way to address it is through EPA programs that focus on energy costs and waste throughout the IT system's lifecycle.
Ann Bailey, director of Energy Star product labeling at the EPA said the agency now focuses on uninterruptable power supplies for data centers and has set a requirement of energy savings levels between 33 percent and 50 percent.
"In a large data center, one of these units will save about $18,000 a year in energy costs," said Bailey. When the entire current stock of these power supplies is switched over to Energy Star-branded products, "savings will be something like $470 million a year" when scaled across the federal government.
Following that rollout, Bailey said EPA will focus on data center storage and large network equipment. It hopes to have certification guidelines in place by summer 2013.
While there is no mandate that agencies purchase Energy Star goods, Bailey said most do because they present significant cost savings. The GSA also lists many Energy Star devices on its website to facilitate agency purchases of certified goods.
Bailey said that for federal agencies, the EPA is focused on the products in data centers as well as how they are cooled and configured. To this end, the agency has a guidance program and benchmarking tool to help federal agencies compare their energy performance to one another. These services fall under the Energy Star Low Carbon IT Campaign.
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