News Feature | February 2, 2017

House Bill Creates Energy Efficient Standards For Federal Data Centers

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

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New standards would require agencies to create efficient data center strategies.

The House of Representatives passed a bill putting energy efficiency standards on Federal data centers. The Energy Efficient Government Technology Act (HR 306), sponsored by Reps. Anna Eshoo, D-CA and Adam Kinzinger, R-IL, passed unanimously by voice vote and now moves on to the Senate for a vote.

H.R. 306 requires several federal agencies to coordinate to develop an implementation strategy for the maintenance, purchase, and use of energy-efficient and energy-saving information technologies in an attempt to reduce energy consumption at federal government data centers. The bill requires the Office of Management and Budget to track and report on each agency’s progress. The bill also requires the Department of Energy to establish an open data initiative to help share best practices and support further innovation, and develop a metric that measures data center energy efficiency.

Agencies could use advanced metering infrastructure and secure telework and travel substitution tools to create efficient data center strategies. “As the nation’s largest energy user, landowner, and employer, the Federal government should lead by example to improve the energy efficiency of its technology equipment and data centers,” Eshoo says. “This legislation will reduce the Federal government’s energy use, save taxpayer dollars, and set the standard for the private sector.”

Data centers account for 10 percent of the Federal government’s electricity usage. According to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, widespread adoption of energy efficient information technologies, including energy solutions at the more than 2,000 Federal data centers, could save the Federal government more than $5 billion in energy costs through 2020.

“The federal government depends on a vast array of over 2,000 data centers housing energy-consuming servers,” says Kinzinger, a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. “These data centers support everyday operations from electronic communications to data storage, consuming an estimated 2 percent of all electricity in the U.S. The Energy Efficient Government Technology Act will deliver savings to the American tax-payers who are footing these energy bills by increasing energy efficiency, reducing overall energy consumption, and eliminating e-waste in these data centers.”