Have you heard? According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, data center energy consumption will increase to roughly 140 billion kilowatt hours per year by 2020 – costing U.S. businesses $13 billion in annual electricity bills (not to mention the impacts of the nearly 100 million metric tons of greenhouse-gas emissions being generated).

Green data centers use less energy than their counterparts, and eliminate wasteful processes. Less money spent on energy bills means more money that stays within your organization. But with concerns about uptime, security and fire suppression, it’s easy to see why green data center operations aren’t always top of mind.

Here are some green data center improvements that will offer improved energy efficiency right away.

Examine Your Servers

There are several changes you can make to servers to reduce energy use (and free up floor space), according to ENERGY STAR:

  1. Virtualization (consolidating independent servers to a single physical server) to reduce energy costs by 10% to 40%.
  2. Decommissioning unused servers, which use electricity without completing any computing, to gain 15% to 30% energy savings. An Anthesis Group report estimates that there are 10 million physical servers not being used but using energy – which translates to $30 billion in idle assets
  3. Consolidate lightly used servers to minimize full power draw. The average server operates at only 12% to 18% of capacity, says the Natural Resources Defense Council. Imagine the money you could save by not powering equipment that does no work.

Monitor Your Environment

CRAC System

With an environmental monitoring system, you can continuously manage data center temperatures and humidity levels – both of which impact energy use. Energy and water waste can occur when data centers are being simultaneously humidified and dehumidified, or when cooling systems are running without rejection of the heat created by the IT load. Environmental monitoring systems can warn you about all of this via phone, text or email. This allows you to make adjustments right away to maintain energy efficiency; it also helps identify potential data center performance problems. An increase in temperature, for example, may mean that a CRAC system isn’t functioning correctly.

Cut Costs and Increase Profits without Cutting CornersKnow Cooling Requirements

In 2008, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) established new temperature and humidity ranges at the inlet of a server. Did your data center make changes accordingly? The recommended range is now 65 degrees F to 80 degrees F; for every unnecessary 1 degree F difference below 65 degrees F, you spend 4% to 5% more on energy costs.

Deciding to go green in your data center makes obvious financial sense – but the decision is often fueled by other reasons as well.

For example, if you’re a multi-tenant data center (MTDC), then it’s likely that your clients will ask whether you follow green practices. More and more organizations now have environmental policies in place that may dictate purchasing or vendor decisions. Your emphasis on green data center operations may be the deciding factor in an MTDC environment.

For More Information

To learn more about improving data center efficiency, schedule a call with one of our experts!