Data Centers – Action Needed to Retain 1-100 ENERGY STAR Score

Letter from Energy Star:

With the upcoming launch of the new and improved Portfolio Manager, we want to keep you informed of an important change that will impact your ability to continue receiving a 1-100 ENERGY STAR score.

What’s happening?

Since the launch of the ENERGY STAR score for data centers in 2010, there has been an option to use system-generated estimates for IT energy use data entries. After June 30, 2013, this option will be discontinued, and Portfolio Manager will no longer apply IT energy estimates. Historical IT energy data, whether measured or using the system-generated estimates will be transferred into the new Portfolio Manager and will remain available, however, the feature to apply IT energy estimates will not be available for future months after June.

Why is EPA making this change?

The most accurate assessments of building performance rely on actual measured data, which in the case of data centers includes measurement of IT energy consumption. However, at the time EPA introduced the ENERGY STAR score for data centers, we were aware that few data center operators were measuring this very important component of their energy use. Therefore, to enable operators to receive an ENERGY STAR score and to better understand their performance, EPA allowed the use of system-generated estimates for a limited time only. While EPA had planned to sunset these estimates after one year, this deadline was extended twice to allow operators additional time to install the necessary metering.

What does it mean to me?

If you currently use the “Apply IT Energy Estimates” feature within Portfolio Manager for benchmarking data center space, and you take no action, then the first time you update your building’s energy meters after June 30, 2013 you will no longer receive a 1-100 ENERGY STAR score for the building. This is because while you will then have total energy use for the building for the month ending July 2013, Portfolio Manager will not apply IT energy estimates for the month of July, resulting in it being impossible to calculate an ENERGY STAR score due to the missing IT energy data for July 2013.

What do I need to do?

Begin by determining if your space actually meets the Portfolio Manager definition for data center, as many spaces entered as data center may not actually be considered data centers for the purpose of benchmarking in Portfolio Manager. Use the decision tree in “Does Your Data Center Meet the Portfolio Manager Definition?” to help you make the determination, and then take one of the following actions:

If your data center does not meet the Portfolio Manager definition, then reclassify the space you had designated as data center by changing it to the primary building space type and counting the servers as the number of PCs. After making this change, you will continue to receive an ENERGY STAR score for your building, and no further action is required.

If your data center meets the Portfolio Manager definition, then you have three options:

1. Measure IT Energy.  This will give you the most accurate ENERGY STAR score, and provide you with the most valuable information to help you effectively manage energy use in your data center space. There are three acceptable approaches to measuring IT energy data:

a. Install a meter (kWh) at the output of the UPS (preferred)

b. Install a meter (kWh) at the input of the PDU

c. Use a software solution that connects to the UPS to record kW readings every 15 minutes or more frequently and then calculate monthly kWh

2. Reclassify the Data Center Space as the primary building space type. To do this, you will need to add a new space with the same square foot as the data center and count the servers as the number of PCs. Then delete the data center space.

3. Enter estimated data for IT energy. This option is not acceptable for the ENERGY STAR certification, but it will enable you to continue to see a score for benchmarking purposes. In the new Portfolio Manager, you can mark energy data as an estimate and a flag that the property has estimated IT energy data can be captured in reports.

Energy Star

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