IT Will Play Key Role in Obama's Order for Federal Energy Efficiency
Photo via Beth Rankin via Flickr CC
It was just a few months ago that we wrote about the Department of Energy frittering away $23 million a year for dumb IT energy management mistakes. Now, there won't be any excuse - for any federal agency - thanks to Executive Order 13514 requiring tighter energy efficiency targets. Taking a close look at IT departments will go a long way in meeting new targets. As Matt noted on Monday, President Obama signed an executive order that, within the next three months, requires federal agencies to put into place targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, divert 50% of their waste by 2015, and achieve a net-zero energy building requirement by 2030 among other sustainability goals. What federal agencies do in their IT departments is key for meeting targets.
First, it's all about the data centers. We know data centers are approaching the same impact as the airline industry when it comes to global carbon dioxide emissions. Making data centers more energy efficient - something possible even through small, inexpensive changes - will go far in meeting goals for reduction of GHG emissions, and so will likely get a lot of attention now that the executive order is in effect. Steps such as virtualization, free cooling in data center facilities, powering data centers with renewable energy, and measuring data center energy use to understand where more improvements can be made will all be important steps in not only cutting down GHG emissions, but also getting closer to a net-zero building requirement.
Secondly, it comes down to equipment choices. Already the some US government agencies have committed to only purchasing equipment that is EPEAT certified. The new order requires that, across the board, 95% of new acquisitions must be Energy Star or Federal Energy Management Program compliant, be EPEAT certified, contain recycled content, or otherwise be more sustainable than other products. With the sheer number of products listed as EPEAT certified and Energy Star compliant, it would be difficult not to comply with this aspect of the executive order. Of course, it would be wise for IT managers to look primarily at redeploying existing equipment, which would help them with the waste diversion goal as well as save funds.
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