The first data center owners and operators have joined the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Better Buildings Challenge, committing to reduce their energy use by at least 20 percent over the next decade. In 2013, U.S. data centers consumed about 100 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity – a number that is expected to grow as more information is shared and stored online. Half of the energy supplied to a typical data center is used in the cooling and power infrastructure, such as management of air flow and optimization of controls.
“As the Better Buildings Challenge expands, leading organizations are partnering with the Department to apply energy efficiency measures and energy management strategies that will shape the nation’s next-generation of data centers,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz in a statement. “In fact, if all data centers were 20 percent more efficient, the nation could save more than 20 billion kWh of electricity by 2020, which would result in roughly $2 billion in cost savings.”
The 19 new data centers include national laboratories; federal agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Defense, and the Social Security Administration; as well as companies like ebay inc., Home Depot, and Staples who, combined, are currently consuming more than 90 MW and are committing to improving the efficiency of the infrastructure across their building portfolios. These upgrades will complement the installation of new emerging IT systems or technologies.
Currently, more than 200 organizations are partnering with the DOE as part of the Better Buildings Challenge and have completed upgrades to more than 9,000 facilities with 2,100 buildings improving efficiency by least 20 percent, and another 4,500 by at least 10 percent, compared to their baseline years.