Data Centers

Data Centers

In the United States, data centers consume about 70 billion kWh of electricity per year, close to 2% of all U.S. electricity use, and are growing users of energy as more information is shared and stored online.  If all U.S. data centers were 20% more efficient, we could save about 14 billion kWh by 2020 as a nation. That translates to roughly $1.4 billion in cost savings.

Data Center Accelerator Partners

Learn about the great work of the Data Center Accelerator Partners. Each Accelerator is a targeted, short-term, partner-focused activity designed to address persistent barriers that stand in the way of greater efficiency.

The 2020 Summit is Going Virtual

The Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit is transitioning to a virtual leadership symposium, taking place June 8-11, 2020. Experience 4 days of sessions, workshops, recognition, and more with industry experts and peers.

COVID-19 Resource Center

Dealing with COVID-19 presents an unprecedented scenario for building owners, plant managers, and employees. Better Buildings has collected resources from partners, affiliates, and other organizations that may prove useful.

Featured Solutions

Sabey Data Centers partnered with Big Bend Community College to develop a Data Center Training Program that prepares students for the Information Technology and facility management jobs critical to successfully maintaining data centers.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) Research Support Facility (RSF) uses 50% less energy than if it were built to current commercial building code standards and is certified LEED Platinum. The RSF also houses one of NREL’s greenest data centers.
The purpose of this brief guide is to present opportunities for small data center owners and operators that generally make sense and do not need expensive assessment and analysis to justify. 
This guide intends to help data center owners and operators implement a metering system that allows their organizations to gather the necessary data for effective decision-making and energy-efficiency improvements.
Dave Breland of Intuit talks about his company's strategies for achieving their Better Buildings goal.

Other Resources

Fact Sheets

Leading CEOs and executives of U.S. companies, universities, school districts, multifamily organizations, and state and local government are taking the Better Buildings Challenge to reduce energy use across their building portfolios by 20 percent in 10 years.
This factsheet provides information on the program and how your organization can join and become a data center accelerator partner.

Guidance

Read how the Better Buildings Challenge a voluntary leadership initiative is bringing together leading CEOs and executives of U.S. companies, universities, school districts, multifamily residential organizations, and state and local government to make a public commitment to energy efficiency. 
Read about the importance of accelerating energy efficiency in our nation's data centers, including frequently asked questions and an overview of the available partnership programs.
This guide intends to help data center owners and operators implement a metering system that allows their organizations to gather the necessary data for effective decision-making and energy-efficiency improvements.
Presentation slides from Data Centers: Key Considerations presentation given at the NASA Net-Zero Energy workshop June 5-6, 2012.

Implementation Model

At multi-tenant data centers, customers' needs and equipment vary, making the implementation of hot aisle containment complicated and potentially costly. Sabey requires hot aisle containment from their Intergate Quincy facility customers, while ensuring Sabey maintains ample flexibility in deploying the containment.

Presentations

Data center managers are increasingly looking to renewable forms of energy to power their operations. This presentation gives an overview of types of renewable energy, avenues for assistance in developing renewable projects, and ways to evaluate the financial feasibility of renewable energy projects.
IT equipment can be a significant driver for energy use in data centers. This presentation describes new trends and advancements in IT energy efficiency that can help data center managers cut energy costs.
Intelligent metering is a prerequisite to effectively managing energy use in data centers. This presentation details metering options for different data center configurations to help facilities managers calculate their data centers' power usage effectiveness.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) boasts the most energy efficient data center in the world. This presentation describes the data center, its energy efficient features, and how it was built.
This presentation from the Data Center World Conference looks at the holistic approach taken by the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in designing the world's most energy efficient data center.
This presentation addresses the barriers associated with challenging a business-as-usual approach where energy efficiency often takes a back seat to concerns about reliability.
This presentation addresses the challenges encountered while implementing energy efficiency improvements in existing data centers within multi-use buildings. 
PUE Baselining: Methods and Resources 2015 Better Buildings Summit
DOE will begin this presentation by providing an overview of PUE baselining strategies that address various challenges reported by Better Buildings Challenge and Accelerator partners.
Learn how industry leaders are driving energy and cost savings through a range of solutions. Presentations include summaries of specific technological changes and/or improvements through consolidation and the tangible financial and environmental benefits they produced.
This training introduced federal, state, and local participants to the highlights of eProject Builder, DOE's national database for recording and managing Energy Savings Performance Contracting (ESPC) projects.
Participants learned how DOE's 50001 Ready and Superior Energy Performance 50001 programs can help them achieve their long-term energy management goals.
This session highlighted projects that have been able to achieve significant energy and water savings through technologies and innovative strategies.
This session featured strategies for aligning goals and activities to enable action around energy efficiency among multiple actors, including property management teams with their real estate clients and landlords with their commercial and federal tenants.
This session showcased owner and manager building construction and retrofit experiences while experts from DOE's Envelope Research Team highlighted the newest, promising energy-saving technologies, including dynamic windows, liquid flashing and primer-less air sealants, and integrated wall systems.
As organizations continue to invest in more powerful IT equipment, data center server racks are packing in ever-higher electrical loads. Liquid cooling is a way to handle these higher loads more efficiently. This session explored the possibilities for liquid cooling in the data center industry. Better Buildings partners shared their insights on implementing liquid cooling in their data centers.
Attendees learned about Better Buildings partners' successes in consolidating their data centers and finding savings.
This session highlighted Better Buildings partner successes in improving the infrastructure of small data centers embedded within larger multi-use buildings, or, when that is not possible, the process of decommissioning them and consolidating the IT resources to larger facilities.
This session showcased Better Buildings partners who are pushing the boundaries of environmental conditioning in data centers. Examples will include raised ambient temperature and humidity set points, as well as increases to chilled water supply, all of...
This session focused on cutting edge HVAC solutions Better Buildings partners have implemented in data centers that may be applicable in other building types as well.
This session highlighted success stories from Better Buildings partners that have reduced operating costs in their data centers by taking advantage of on-site and off-site renewable energy opportunities.

Reports

The purpose of this brief guide is to present opportunities for small data center owners and operators that generally make sense and do not need expensive assessment and analysis to justify. 
This report documents the methodology used to procure, construct, and operate an energy-efficient data center suitable for a net-zero-energy-use building - NREL's Research Support Facility.  

Showcase Projects

By requiring customers to utilize hot aisle containment and by installing variable and efficient infrastructure, Sabey was able to achieve Energy Star certification for this data center with a perfect score of 100, and a 57% reduction in energy use.
Due to the nature of business at Sprint, 87% of electricity consumption by the company derives from the Sprint Network. This Kansas City building houses legacy wireline, data, and core wireless network equipment.
The total cost of this data center retrofit was $750,000 ($342,000 for VSD equipment; $69,000 for VSD installation; $339,000 for Harmonic Transformers). The upgrades led to an annual energy savings of 4,363,000 kWh, and a reduction in the actual PUE of 1.71 to 1.59.  
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), located in Golden, Colorado, recently completed the Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF), a new 182,000-square-foot LEED Platinum research facility that includes high bay and laboratory space, office space for about 220 staff, and an ultra-efficient high performance computing (HPC) data center.  
Located in Northern Virginia, this one Megawatt capacity data center was built in 2007 and is operated by an agency within the Department of Justice. The facility is embedded within an 81,000 foot building that also houses other functions such as offices and a print shop.
The Quincy facility was designed as a raised floor data center with 40,000 square feet of whitespace, but currently only 20,000 square feet has been built out with server racks. Intuit undertook steps to reduce the energy intensity at the Quincy data center.
Schneider Electric sought a 30-50% reduction in data center operations costs attributed to energy consumption, so it consolidated one primary legacy data center and multiple distributed data centers into a modern facility that offered greater reliability and energy efficiency.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) Research Support Facility (RSF) uses 50% less energy than if it were built to current commercial building code standards and is certified LEED Platinum. The RSF also houses one of NREL’s greenest data centers.

Solution at a Glance

Sabey Data Centers partnered with Big Bend Community College to develop a Data Center Training Program that prepares students for the Information Technology and facility management jobs critical to successfully maintaining data centers.

Videos

Dave Breland of Intuit talks about his company's strategies for achieving their Better Buildings goal.
The Green Lease Leaders program shines a spotlight on innovative landlord and tenant companies that add energy efficiency and sustainability clauses to their leases. This webinar recognized the 2019 Green Lease Leaders who are pushing the envelope on...
Learn why small data centers shouldn't be overlooked when it comes to energy efficiency, and discover low-cost, high-win strategies that can reduce energy demand.

Webinars

Watch this webinar to learn how Better Buildings Challenge and Accelerator partners have formed partnerships within their organizations and implemented measures to dramatically reduce data center energy usage.
This webinar focused on how small data centers can develop air management best practices and see a reduction in infrastructure energy costs.
This webinar featured state, local, and commercial sector partners sharing best practices on energy data management, and also introduced DOE's Energy Data Management Guide.

Additional Information

Center of Expertise for Energy Efficiency in Data Centers
The Center of Expertise is located at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). LBNL has long been recognized by industry as a leading source for technical expertise on energy efficiency in data centers. View their available resources, tools and trainings.

ASHRAE Paper - Thermosyphon Cooler Hybrid System for Water Savings in an Energy-Efficient HPC Data Center: Modeling and Installation
This paper describes the installation of thermosyphon cooler hybrid systems.

NREL's High-Performance Computing Data Center
View information about NREL's high-performance data center and see the center's energy efficiency dashboard as well as other technologies they have implemented.

United States Data Center Energy Usage Report
This report estimates historical data center electricity consumption back to 2000, relying on previous studies and historical shipment data, and forecasts consumption out to 2020 based on new trends and the most recent data available.

Data Center Growth in the United States: Decoupling the Demand for Services from Electricty Use
This paper presents a bottom-up model to estimate data center electricity demand in the United States over a 20 year period and examines observed and projected electricity use trends in the context of changing data center operations.

Priorities

Meet the Sector Committee Chair