That equates to 1.75 million kilowatt hours annually—or
roughly 2.4 million pounds of carbon dioxide.
Though the system cost about $100,000 to install, the
initial dollar savings exceeded that amount. “We have since
paid for the device many times over, and we will continue to
reap the benefits of it for years to come,” he says.
And UPS didn’t stop there. It reconfigured the spacing of
server racks and other equipment. Parrino focused heavily
on problems revolving around hot aisle/cold aisle configurations, blanking panels, airflow patterns, cable positioning and
For example, he found that power distribution units
(PDUs) were leaking approximately 2,000 cubic feet per
minute (CFM) of air through perforated tops. “They didn’t
need the amount of air they were receiving,” Parrino says.
“By covering them up, we were able to shut off computer
Finally, UPS raised the floor in its uninterruptible power
supply room. This allowed the company to shut off 28 of
the 65 air handlers installed in 1995—and trim another
1.8 million kilowatts per year of energy. It also raised the
data center temperature to the upper 70s and installed sys-
tems to closely monitor airflow patterns.
Factor in a server virtualization initiative that’s growing
at a robust 20 percent to 30 percent annual rate and a move
to more-efficient Energy Star-compliant servers and systems,
and UPS has established itself as a green leader.
Other organizations, such as the American Society of
Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers
(ASHRAE) and the Electric Power Research Institute
(EPRI), also provide measurement solutions. And the EPA’s
auditing tool goes beyond the basic PUE equation: It looks
at all energy sources—diesel fuel, natural gas and different
sources of electricity—to gain a more complete energy
Living the Concept
One company with robust measurement tools in place is
Salt River Project (SRP), one of the largest public utilities
in the United States, with more than 935,000 customers
in the Phoenix area. Achieving a total view of data center
efficiency is paramount for the enterprise, says John Bistany,
manager of IT infrastructure.
The utility, which continually promotes energy savings
and green initiatives for its customers, understands the
urgency of living the concept. It has established an internal
sustainability team that focuses on company operations and
examines ways to become greener.
In June 2009, SRP worked with HP over a six-week
period to complete a comprehensive energy audit and establish baseline PUE levels. Among other things, the organization evaluated the impact of previously installed hot and
cold aisles. It also looked at how modifying server spacing
and cabling would alter energy consumption.
With an understanding of cause/effect relationships,
Designing greener data centers is all about putting the right
tools, technology and processes in place, PwC’s Singh says.
It’s essential to conduct detailed energy audits, install systems
and software that monitor and automate power consumption
patterns, and achieve a holistic view of how and where the
enterprise is using energy.
“Metrics and measurements are the keys to success,”
says John Tuccillo, the president and CEO of industry
consortium Green Grid and a vice president at APC by
Over the past few years, the EPA has developed sophisticated auditing tools, while firms including Hewlett-Packard
(HP) and IBM have the ability to conduct a detailed analysis
of data centers and their equipment. Meanwhile, organizations such as the Green Grid, which has more than 200
members, have ratcheted up the stakes by establishing metrics and standards, measurement tools and best practices.
The benefits of energy efficiency extend across all industries, according to Tuccillo. A key metric that the Green Grid
introduced is power usage effectiveness (PUE), which examines a facility’s total energy consumption and determines how
much power actually goes into IT equipment. The higher the
figure, the greener the facility.
Another key benchmark is data center infrastructure
efficiency (DCiE). “Unless you know how and where you’re
consuming energy, there’s no way to drive improvement,”
Tuccillo points out.
The Green Grid provides PUE and DCiE estimators,
reporting tools and power policy tools at its Website. Still,
PUE and DCiE don’t provide a total and complete picture.
How fast does a system have to be to capture a business opportunity?
BASELINE JULY/AUGUST 2010