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Federal Data Center Energy Efficiency Bill Could Save $5 Billion


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A new bill (HR 306) introduced by U.S. Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA-District 18) and passed unanimously by voice vote in the U.S. House of Representatives in January proposes a set of energy efficiency standards directed at federal data centers designed to save as much as $5 billion in energy costs by 2020.

The Energy Efficient Government Technology Act now awaits a Senate vote.The measure would mandate each federal agency to compile a report describing its efforts to reduce energy use in its data centers and computing infrastructure. A comprehensive report, produced by the Secretary and Administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency, then would be compiled and distributed. The report would comprise:

  • Comparisons with previous projections from the period, 2008-2015;
  • An analysis of the impact of virtualization and cloud computing, and
  • Conclusions on the impact of mobile devices, social media, and big data on data center energy usage.

The Act also would launch an Open Data Initiative. The text of the bill notes that “The Secretary, in collaboration with key stakeholders and the Office of Management and Budget, shall establish an Open Data Initiative for federal data center energy usage data, with the purpose of making such data available and accessible in a manner that encourage further data center innovation, optimization, and consolidation.”

In full, the bill outlines several strategies that the agencies must consider to boost their efficiency savings, the news outlet said – including deploying advanced metering infrastructure, intelligent power management tools, and secure teleworking.

“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,” said Eshoo in a statement on her website. “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 almost 2 percent of all U.S. electricity consumption, and 10 percent of the federal government’s electricity consumption, according to The Stack. With over 2,000 federal data centers, the proposed efficiency legislation hopes to save the government as much as $5 billion in energy costs by 2020.

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