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The Green Grid Tools Contribute to Improved Energy Usage in U.S. Data Centers

July 18
08:42 2016

Oregon – The Green Grid (TGG) is a global consortium of leading multinational corporations within the information and communications technology (ICT) and data center industry. On behalf of our nearly 200 member companies spanning the global spectrum and geography of ICT goods and services, we welcome the conclusions presented in “The United States Data Center Energy Usage Report,” (the Report) issued by the Federal Energy Management Program of the U.S. Department of Energy under Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Given The Green Grid’s mission to drive effective and accountable resource efficiency across the ICT ecosystem, we were invited as a stakeholder in the development of the Report, where we provided guidance and technical expertise. This participation – and the final conclusions – underscore the importance of continued efforts by TGG and our member companies to provide the means to measure resource efficiency and to help corporate and governmental programs recognize the importance of effectively using energy. The Green Grid looks forward to developing solutions for the future energy reduction opportunities identified in the Report.


The Report shows historical data center electricity consumption back to 2000, and forecasts consumption out to 2020 based on new trends and the most recent data available. Among other data, the Report examines a combination of efficiency trends that have resulted in relatively steady U.S. data center electricity demand over the past 5 years, with little growth expected for the remainder of this decade. This is especially notable given that this near-constant electricity demand across the decade is occurring while simultaneously meeting the dramatic increase in demand for data center services.

The key takeaway: without the remarkable energy efficiency improvements made in the past several years by members of The Green Grid, data center electricity demand would be significantly higher.

The Green Grid is proud to have played a central role in helping secure these impressive gains in energy efficiency improvements. When we published the Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) metric in 2007, we formally started our drive for accountable, effective, resource-efficient endto-end ICT ecosystems. Since that time, our efforts to encourage resource-efficient IT have focused on enhancing the return on data center investments through reduced operational costs, optimized power and cooling, better server utilization and improved use of IT infrastructures, incentives, siting and software design.

The Green Grid sees the Report’s findings as more than an affirmation of this historic work – we see it as a call to action going forward. For our part, TGG is working in several key areas that we think represent the next generation of resource efficiency successes. These include the following work areas where we are currently active:

Data Center Maturity Model (DCMM)
DCMM provides clear goals and direction for end users to improve energy efficiency and sustainability across all aspects of the data center. The Green Grid developed DCMM to help users benchmark their current performance, determine their levels of maturity, and identify the ongoing steps and innovations needed to achieve greater energy efficiency and sustainability – today and in the future. DCMM touches upon every aspect of the data center, including power, cooling, compute, storage, and network. Levels of DCMM outline current practices and a fiveyear roadmap for the industry. TGG’s DCMM 2.0 update will include regionally centric enhancements and data center utilization.

Open Standard for Data Center Availability (OSDA)
The Green Grid is developing this new framework to do for data center level classification what PUE did for data center power usage. OSDA promises to embrace data center innovation while advancing the drive toward greater sustainability and energy efficiency, coupled with broad ecological and operational sustainability. TGG expects this new framework to help drive the key availability requirements of existing and future data centers and accommodate the ICT industry need for dynamically changing designs and power sources. It will also identify where data center designs will fit from an availability standpoint.

Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM)
The Green Grid recognizes the strategic role data centers now play in an enterprise’s success, and is developing guides to help companies craft a DCIM framework for integrating the major functional components of a data center. These include both the traditional facility components and the information systems.

Liquid Cooling
In the high performance computing (HPC) space, where 40 kW+ rack power densities are commonplace, data center owners and operators are rapidly adopting aggressive cooling technologies, such as liquid cooling. TGG is closely examining the role that liquid-cooled IT is playing in driving improved energy efficiency – towards a PUE of 1.1 – and the challenges of implementing liquid-cooling in the IT and data centers.

The Green Grid believes that every company is capable of identifying and committing to clearly defined resource efficiency improvements. Such commitments start with measurement. The Green Grid encourages companies to measure, set a baseline and seek to improve their environmental performance agenda based on this approach. This helps companies identify and communicate where they are today, as well as identify and articulate where they want to be in the future.

“EMC welcomes the 2016 report’s conclusions on decreased data center energy intensity. We are pleased to have contributed to the industry’s efficiency improvements,” said Rona Newmark, Board Member and Secretary, The Green Grid; and Vice President, Intelligent Energy Efficiency Strategy, Office of Sustainability, EMC Corporation.

“I am very pleased to see that the past 10 years of energy efficient IT improvements and data center operations best practices and metrics developed, or promoted, by The Green Grid and its
member companies have yielded results. However, there is still much more to do if we are to meet the DoE forecast for 2020 data center energy usage improvements,” said Roger Tipley, President and Chair of The Green Grid Board of Directors.

“Companies continue to challenge us to rethink our processes around resource efficiency and to be more innovative in how we’re helping them reduce their energy usage and carbon footprint. In working with The Green Grid, we together drive next-generation energy and resource efficiency efforts – allowing companies to meet their sustainability goals, improve their energy usage and cost savings, and achieve greater overall operational efficiency. Taking such actions across critical infrastructures is key to helping identify IT and facility inefficiencies and developing solutions that support end-user needs on their resource-efficiency journey,” said Dana Soukup, Vice President, Enterprise Solutions for Siemens’ North American-based Building Technologies Division.

As we go forward, The Green Grid and its member companies are focused on the next generation of solutions, and are working to address the demands and impacts of data collection, storage, processing, and new workloads.

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