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Data Centers

THEMES: Assessment ToolsBenchmarkingBest Practices GuidelinesBibliographyDC Power DemoData Centers R&D Roadmap [PDF]Demonstration ProjectsHigh Performance Computing (HPC) EfficiencyIndia InitiativeProposed LEEDTM CriteriaLinksOrganizationsSelf-benchmarking Protocol [PDF]Training

Data centers have exhibited steady energy demand growth, and electric utilities have received sizeable requests for electrical power for new facilities. Although the demand has subsided somewhat following the dot.com bust, there are many challenges to understanding this market and large opportunity for energy efficiency improvement.

Key Areas of Research:

  1. Characterize baseline energy use and savings potentials
    • Develop R&D Roadmap [PDF]
    • Develop and document scenarios of national baseline and energy savings potential in a special report to the U.S. Congress [PDF].
    • Compile and publish peer-reviewed measured data on power used by data centers. First effort in 2000-2001 [PDF] under the supervision of researchers from LBNL and AT&T. One data center was followed over time, and revisited [PDF] two years after the initial assessment.
  2. Benchmark data centers and document best practices
    • Perform in-depth energy benchmarking on actual facilities
    • Identify and promulgate best practices
    • Develop self-benchmarking [PDF] procedures
    • Case Studies
      • Save Energy Now, Data Center Assessment Summary, Industrial Technologies Program
  3. Technology development and assessment
    • Building Systems
      • Determine the range of current UPS efficiencies, highlight more efficient designs, and provide a means for comparing their total cost of ownership (TCO)
      • Analyze the energy efficiency savings potential and conduct a demonstration of DC power architecture for data centers
    • IT Equipment
      • Document existing efficiencies of server Power Supplies
      • Field-test achievable energy savings from more efficient Power Supplies in operating server installations
      • Assess other power supply savings opportunities in data centers
      • Investigate how IT equipment energy consumption varies with computation loads [PDF] (Summary [PDF]) and develop quantitative metrics
      • Contribute to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency efforts to refine metrics and measurement protocols for benchmarking server performance
  4. Demonstrations, information, training
  5. Showcase best practices at LBNL's own facilities
    • LBNL's in-house energy managers have worked with LBNL researchers for several decades [PDF] on improving energy efficiency in our own high-tech facilities
    • Implement best practices in LBNL's Molecular Foundry, a $65-million, 6-story building housing labs, a cleanroom, and a data center - received LEED Gold Rating
    • Implement best practices in design of a new Supercomputer facility for the University of California. [PDF]
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