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FCW : September 30, 2014
Commentary | MIKE KANIA CIOs in private-sector data centers have been taking advantage of a wide range of voluntary U.S. gov- ernment programs and legislative regulations that promote increased energy ef ciency, leading to reduc- tions in energy expenses and green- house gas emissions. Who has not been taking advan- tage of those programs? In my experience, it s the CIOs in federal agencies. Congress has noticed, too, and is taking action. Take, for example, the Energy Star program, which was estab- lished in 1992 by the Environmental Protection Agency to validate prod- uct ef ciency claims and help busi- nesses and individuals learn about products that have superior energy ef ciency. The program has been evolving to incorporate an increas- ingly broad range of categories. In 2013, the EPA added a new uninterruptible power supply (UPS) category that enables qualifying producers of highly ef cient AC or DC power systems to earn the Energy Star label. The category is particularly appropriate for govern- ment data centers because a large portion of the power they use ows through such devices. Yet many government CIOs are unaware of the UPS category, and even those who have heard about it are not taking advantage of the program. Buying high-ef ciency power systems is one of the most painless ways for CIOs to cut data center energy use and reduce operating expenditures. DC power systems are an essential part of data center applications that require conversion of AC power from a utility or power source into the appropriate DC volt- age for information and communi- cations technology equipment. There is real money at stake. Some estimates show that federal data centers are responsible for 10 percent of all U.S. data center ener- gy use --- costing taxpayers some $600 million annually. House and Senate legislators have advanced bills that would require agencies to be accountable for the implementa- tion of energy-ef cient equipment. Silicon Valley s Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) would like to see a decrease in federal data center energy use and has sponsored the Energy Ef cient Government Tech- nology Act, which would promote energy ef ciency in federal data center IT assets and communica- tion technologies. A broader, bipartisan Senate energy bill, backed by New Hamp- shire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen and Ohio Republican Rob Portman, is designed to create a voluntary program similar to Energy Star that would encourage governmentwide energy ef ciency and could incor- porate provisions of Eshoo s bill. Much like Eshoo, I believe that government should lead by exam- ple. There is no need to wait for legislation to force the hands of federal CIOs. There are programs in place today that can help data cen- ter managers improve the energy ef ciency of their operations. The Energy Department s Federal Energy Management Program pro- vides support for federal agencies to help identify energy-ef cient products and practices that meet federal guidelines. FEMP is also working to raise awareness of the Energy Star program. Because high-ef ciency power systems can have such a big impact on data center energy bills and the environment, federal CIOs would do well to take advantage of the FEMP and Energy Star programs to assist with procurement and imple- mentation of the most ef cient energy resources available. By using existing government programs, federal CIOs can com- pare vendor speci cations and product capabilities to assist in the selection of systems that will reduce data center costs, save tax- payer dollars, conserve energy and decrease environmental impact. The time to take advantage of those resources is now. ■ 600 million reasons to embrace Energy Star Federal data centers' energy use costs taxpayers $600 million a year, but CIOs have plenty of resources to help them trim expenses Buying high-efficiency power systems is one of the most painless ways for CIOs to reduce operating expenditures. MIKE KANIA is director of business development at Eltek, which specializes in high-ef ciency power electronics and energy conversion. 12 September 30, 2014 FCW.COM
September 15, 2014