Despite that fact that it’s the United States’ government, the White House proposed a new voluntary program for data centers to become 20 percent more energy efficient by the year 2020.
For the unapologetic, curious, and somewhat naive crowd: they haven’t found many takers. How surprising.
In fact, the White House Blog said that on September 30th, only 19 data centers had agreed to join the program (of the approximately 2,292 data centers throughout the US according to datacentermapping.com)
Two things are a little out of the ordinary here: why are so few data centers backing the White House and why is the White House starting this program in the first place?
Well the answer to the second question is more obvious than the first: Data Centers are the new polluters.
So much so that all the data centers in the United States require a total of 34, 500-megawatt power plants to operate. Holy digital age! On top of that, the experts say that by 2020, another 17 power plants of power will be needed. Think of the fossil fuels, America!
But wait! According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an increase of large data centers might not exactly correlate to an increase in pollution because data centers are “one of the few large industrial electricity uses which are growing.”
The quote above is from Pierre Delforge, the director of the NRDC’s high-tech sector, which sounds awesome, but Delforge insists that the large data centers are actually running quite efficiently. It’s the smaller ones that are really the problem.
A problem the NRDC and the White House is trying to solve as quickly as possible.
Delforge claims that data center businesses who co-locate and have multiple tenants don’t always have the most energy efficient data center plans. Customers are charged based on space and amount of power being used. A model, which Delforge argues, doesn’t drive an incentive to be energy efficient because they can charge for that power. Big business, man—bringing us all down.
Anyways, that’s why the White House has proposed this voluntary program. But just like big business is getting in the way of energy efficient data centers, big politics is getting in the way of energy efficient data centers. Everyone is just beating their heads against a rock it seems.
They see a problem, see the solution, and then beat there head against some rocks to get it accomplished.
Now the political problem in all of this is that there is currently no carbon tax, penalties for overuse of fossil fuels, and other things of that nature which can help the federal government to monitor how much energy data centers are using.
That’s why they proposed this program—so hey, they’re trying at least.
But, why then, when these data centers could score some brownie points with their government did only 19 of them sign up? Oh, and did I mention that of those 19, 12 of them are government related.
Our good friend Mr. Delforge says that the 20 percent mark might actually be too low. Way to go government, setting up low standards, Psshhh.
But, the number of data centers to sign the proposal will increase and hopefully, with more and more awareness, data center inefficiency will decrease.
If you want to read more about why data center efficiency is important, you can by clicking here.
And if you want to choose an energy efficient data center, check out our 22-energy-efficient data centers throughout the United States.