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DOE Working to Reduce Data Center Pollution
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September 26, 2007

DOE Working to Reduce Data Center Pollution

By Tim Gray
TMCnet Web Editor

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) has teamed up with a consortium of technology companies to figure out how to make data centers more environmentally friendly.

Alexander Karsner, assistant secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy  with the DOE, today signed a pact agreement The Green Grid (News - Alert) to explore ways to increase energy efficiency in the ever-growing information technology sector.

The Green Grid is a group  information technology firms whose goal is to lower the overall consumption of power in data centers around the globe. Karsner, and John Tuccillo, director of The Green Grid, both signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the New York Stock Exchange.

“Data centers represent an important part of the information and economy, and joining forces with the Green Grid puts us on a path to identify and build the necessary tools for thousands of data centers to more easily capture energy savings,” said Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Alexander Karsner.

The agency and the Green Grid have signed a memorandum of understanding to get data centers worldwide to implement energy-management programs and adopt clean-energy technologies, added Karsner.

As part of those discussions the DOE and The Green Grid have set a common goal of improving overall energy efficiency in data centers by 10 percent by 2011, factoring in current projected data center use.

Approximately 10 billion kilowatt-hours would be saved, equivalent to electricity consumed by 1 million U.S. households annually under the current proposals. The energy savings are also expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 6.5 million tons per year – equivalent to removing nearly 1.3 million cars from the road annually.

Because data centers are among the fastest growing industries in the United States, the DOE says it identified them as key to increasing energy efficiency, reducing load on the electricity grid, and enhancing data center reliability. Last year, data centers were estimated to have used 61 billion kilowatt-hours, or 1.5 percent of electricity in the United States, and it is projected to grow 12 percent per year through 2011, according to the DOE.

Since 2005, DOE has completed 344 energy savings assessments in some of the Nation’s most energy-intensive companies. These energy savings assessments have identified over $585 million in potential savings.

If fully implemented, these energy improvements would yield CO2 emission reductions equivalent to removing nearly 850,000 cars from the road each year, according to the DOE.

The DOE’s energy savings assessments directly work toward goals outlined in President Bush’s Advanced Energy Initiative, which seeks to change the way we power our cars, homes and businesses.

Among the big names belonging to the Green Grid consortium is AMD, Microsoft, Dell, Sun Microsystems, IBM and Intel (News - Alert).

Tim Gray is a Web Editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To see more of his articles, please visit Tim Gray’s columnist page.

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