green data center

Green Data Centers Standards Review – metrics, guideline, standards, rating systems

Abstract:The article bellow presents data and information considered Standards Review of a Green Data Centres development and their energy efficiency estimation. Energy Audit of the Green Data center building – energy efficiency rating system. Data Center Efficiency Metrics. Possible criteria for metrics. EE certification systems. The article is developed on the base of a research and development policy provided by ENBC.

Development of a Green Data Centre have the possitive effect on the energy performance of building, local comunity and economy, clean environment and could be done. Already several European research study and pilot projects have been developed that prove the positiveness of the idea for the local and national economy and environment.

The most base, valuable and popular criteria for preliminary assessment, analysis and identification of the GreenData Centre Locations are:

    • Users & market
    • Storage and processing capacity
    • Land and Facilities
    • Energy
    • Power Lines
    • Issues related to technical implementation as:— Geology mines— Energy Supply— Cooling opportunities— Ventilation & environment

      — Lay-out – building technical

  • Matters relating to security among other things as:— Security – natural disaster / war / sabotage— Security electronic / computer technology

But the following important criteria also need to be taken into consideration before to take a decision about the place and technology that to be used toward development and implementation of a really Green Data Centre. Also the selection of the methodology for their estimation and comparative analysis is crucial for the success of the project.

Main crucial steps:

  • Energy, Energy Supply, Power lines, Energy Storage: It’s important to provide to the datacentre non-stop sustainable and green energy (at least 3 independent energy supply power lines and RES (or alternative, recycling) power sources. Should be selected the most sustainable and availability and accessibility variants with the lowest Power cost and lowest environmental impacts and operation & maintenance cost., availability and sustainability have become the most influential determinant in the location debate. Energy storage centre should be provided in case of any human, environmental or other impacts.

If there is already such preliminary assessments and analysis is great, but if not it’s important to identify and provide it on a first project phase.

  • Network Presence & Clouding system: Establishment of non-stop (security) access to the Internet, and the ability to connect different organizations with their servers in the Futured Data centre. At least 2 independent lines/ways of access.
  • Tax incentives: Identification of the local/national tax incentives and discounts on energy costs or anything else that could be obstacles for the project or to attract users to allure that green data centre.
  • Latency, Speed of data access: Identification of the way of how it will be guarantee, especially to the High Frequency User  who need direct access through fiber optic lines, and therefore require data centres near the exchange.

Also the main key steps of the project is the Operating and Maintenance costs (electric bills, taxes and etc. which reflect to the Data Center bottom line).

The next step is:

  • Standardization: The Green Data Centre is good to be built to cover all National Standards (or at least EU and/or Local national standards if there are any) and it it’s going to be certified, which is very important to be done – to cover all related EU and world standards. Some of them are mentioned bellow.

To establish criteria’s for Green Data Centre it’s needed to be established at first the sources and the available source potential. So the availability at a such report, assessments, prediction is very important. The following step after that is to assess what part of the available sources are really accessible and beneficiary. And the third steps is the identification of the most applicable and viable technology for the purpose. Comparative analysis is the best option. The methodology and algorithm used in the RES’use software is one of the great opportunity that could provide the necessary accurate data and information.

Identification of the Data Centre stands

Most of the Green Data Centres experts sais “At the planning stage it should be determined where the datacenter currently stands”. So the following issues should be taken into consideration:

  • “Meters are used to break down energy usage to the level of components (such as a 2U server, a 4U server, a switch, a SAN, and a UPS) and which business units are charged for the power being used by those components.
  • Energy usage is continuously monitored to determine peak and low energy demands.
  • Energy capacities are monitored on a total datacenter level all the way down to circuits to make sure all circuits are within acceptable limits.
  • The energy savings plan is documented and rewarded.
  • The energy savings plan is reviewed regularly and corrective action is taken to address failures.
  • Determining how costs are charged back to business units is used to shape behavior, encouraging energy savings among independent business units. This point must be driven at the executive level.
  • CPU throttling is enabled on the servers, and the performance lab measures the range of power consumed under a variety of loads.
  • Thermal profiling is used to identify hot spots and overcooling.
  • IT performance engineering includes energy efficiency measurements.
  • Feedback of live data is available to individual organizations, allowing them to react appropriately”.



Some notes, clarification and definitions needs to be established into the project according the Power, Energy, peak of power and etc. The most usable and famous, adapted from World Commission on Environment and Development, commonly known as the Bruntland Commission, 1987 are:

“A Green Data Centre is a repository for the storage, management and dissemination of data in which the mechanical, lighting, electrical and computer systems are designed for maximum energy efficiency and minimum environmental impact.”

“Sustainable digital storage is: designing, manufacturing, deploying, managing, recycling digital information storage in a manner that meets the information needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own information needs.”


Energy audit of the Green Datacentre

Energy audit of the future datacenter (a virtual energy audit, computing simulations/modeling on different scenarios) based on the real practical problems (classifying power-consuming subsystems as IT loads, physical infrastructure, different additional power consuming devices, outdoor lighting, NOC and etc. The proved APC methodology is one of the most user friendly methodology that could be adapted to the each project situation.

To identify the Data Center electricity and thermal energy flow also is a part of the Energy audit on the preliminary stage for each Green Data Centre Development.

The most popular and applicable scheme source is developed by Uptime Institute and presented on the picture bellow.


Energy Audit of the Green Data center building – energy efficiency rating system

It’s also should be included into the whole process and could be implemented according the EU directives, National Legislation and standards and world certification and energy efficiency rating systems also.


Data Center Efficiency Metrics

Many metric are in use for the data centers, such as: PUE, DCiE, SWaP, SPECpower, COP, CLF, DCP, DCeP, CE, PLF, EEP, EPR, CUPS, CADE, SIT, and EPA Energy Star

The two most commonly used metrics are Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) and its reciprocal, Data Center Infrastructure Efficiency (DCiE).  Using them is possible to determine the energy performance and it’s efficient.  A Carbon Usage Effectiveness (CUE) can be used to define carbon impact of the existed and a future datacenter.

PUE is intended to identify the efficiency of power use in comparison to the desirable use of power – powering computer equipment.  The ideal goal is to achieve a PUE of 1.0. Current industry average is approximately 2.1.

DCiE is intended to express power usage efficiency as a percentage.  The ideal goal is to achieve 100% of power usage is for computing equipment directly.

Possible criteria for metrics: low cost for supply, production and implement, ease of use, apply across different d.c. types, outsourced, tier levels/redundancy, simple and user friendly, secure, business oriented, non-invasive, accurate, monitoring capabilities, transparency …

Key drivers could be: save money, efficient design, low energy usage, environmental friendly, healthy environment, sustainable clouding, low carbon footprint…

Project hierarchy: definition, guidelines, reporting, audit/verification/certification, specification, standards acceptance…

Other metrics staffs could be: financial, operations, capital, network and IT utilization, facilities, power, cooling, staff… Performance as: useful work, production (development, test…)

It’s important to think about: eWaste, Green Buildings Metrics (e.g. LEED, BREEAM). Key element is to chose what metrics would be used (GG, Uptime ASHRAE, or any combination). Optional – development of a new metric system and methodology.

Each project team needs to clarify and agree if any of the mentioned or even other available guidelines and metric systems (or combination of them), to decide are ther good for the purpose of the project or it’s needed a new once to be defined.


Regulatory domains

  • Green IT Agenda, Green Data Center Strategy
  • New standards for EE in data centers design: LEED in US, BREEAM in UK, MTP in UK
  • Corporate Average Data center
  • Efficiency index (CADE), a metric being developed to measure comprehensive data center
  • ENERGY STAR’s forthcoming specifications for data centers and computer servers.
  • “Secure Data Center Solutions.” GSA
  • UK Government ICT Strategy resources
  • Data Center Cooling Solution
  • Emerald Technologies OptiCoolTM Data Center Cooling Solution

Important issues to be taken into account

  • ISO 50001 Energy Management Systems and Certification for Data Center. Singapore Standard SS564:2010 Green Data Centers (energy and environmental management systems)
  • ISO14001 Certified Environmental Management System
  • IT Service Management System (ITSMS) based on ISO/IEC 20000
  •  ISO 9001Quality)
  • Benchmarking for Data Center Infrastructure –USA Department of Energy PUE
  • DCIE (Centre Infrastructure Efficiency) standards
  • Energy Efficiency and Data Centers methodology of IMB, Cisco, HP, Microsoft
  • Data Centers efficiency white papers


Certification systems

  • LEED Criterias for DataCenters
  • BREEAM UK system
  • ISO14001 Certified Environmental Management System

Key areas of concern

  • Different infrastructure requirements for every company
  • Maintaining the certification
  • Wide acceptance from standards bodies
  • No single technology or solution for measuring systems across the entire data center


Authors: S. Petkova, N. TodorovENBC Ltd.