Feds provide advice, software for tackling energy efficiency

DOE and EPA release free resources aimed at helping datacenter operators cut waste

The Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency have been hard at work trying to help organizations reduce the environmental impact of their datacenters. To that end, the groups recently released a report identifying strategies to cut datacenter energy waste, as well as a software tool for diagnosing energy usage in the datacenter.

The DOE-EPA report is titled "Energy Efficiency in Data Centers: Recommendations for Government-Industry Coordination." The contents draw on a national strategy workshop convened last July, attended by representatives from industry, utilities, associations, and nongovernmental organizations. The goal was to help identify a series of next steps that the government can take to fully leverage and complement industry, utilities, and other stakeholder activities. The report also discusses of some of the energy-management best practices being implemented in datacenters.

Among recommendations in the report, there's the directive for the Feds to "standardize and harmonize metrics for IT equipment, infrastructure, and facilities; develop definitions for useful work output from IT equipment and datacenters as a whole."

The report also recommends that government provide incentives for implementing best practices. That could include promoting internal reward systems, such as employee recognition programs, as well as external rewards, such as providing financial incentives or recognition programs to companies that embrace energy-efficiency practices.

The Department of Energy and the EPA have also released a free online software tool called the Data Center Energy Profiler, or DC Pro, designed to help companies quickly diagnose how energy is being used by their datacenters and how they might save energy and money. It also identifies ways to reduce environmental emissions associated with energy production and use.

Using DC Pro and information about your datacenter, you can complete a profile in about an hour. The tool provides an overview of your company's energy purchases, datacenter energy use, savings potential, and a list of specific actions you can take to realize these savings, according to the DOE.

Currently in Version 1.0, DC Pro was tested by 610 users prior to its current iteration. The tool features an online tutorial, answers to frequently asked questions, and the ability to create a PDF report of results.

Users can also customize the source energy factor for each energy stream to account for electricity produced from cogeneration, renewable sources, and the like.

You can download the report and the DC Pro application for free here.