Market characterization study finds new savings opportunities for Focus on Energy

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CEE has posted a final report for the Wisconsin Embedded Data Center Market Characterization study — funded by the Environmental & Economic Research and Development Program under Focus on Energy, an organization that partners with utilities in Wisconsin to help residents and businesses reduce energy waste. The project's research team interviewed business owners from across Wisconsin to identify savings opportunities, program offerings, and new marketing channels for Focus on Energy through the use of small embedded data centers. Primary and secondary research was also conducted, including a literature review and stakeholder survey, as well as follow-up field work.

Findings from the survey indicate Wisconsin has numerous businesses with small embedded data centers (an estimated 1,600 commercial buildings), resulting in an annual energy consumption of approximately 98 GWh. The majority of them are located in offices, manufacturing and educational buildings, and most have dedicated cooling systems.

As a result of the project, the team determined that Focus on Energy could achieve energy savings by targeting SEDCs that fulfill the minimum requirements that benefit most from a defined set of effective IT and cooling measures. To address IT staff concerns, emphasis should be placed on measures that require minimal non-mission critical capital expenditure, that don’t result in downtime of IT services.

The following measures can also be taken by Focus on Energy to further reduce energy use:

  • Increase UPS utilization to 75-80% through UPS consolidation.
  • Identify dormant (comatose) servers and turn them off if access to those servers is no longer required. Reduce the number of physical hosts by employing server virtualization.
  • Reduce the servers by moving those IT services to the cloud (typically email, file, and database servers).
  • Purchase ENERGY STAR-certified IT equipment when refreshing.
  • Move storage to cloud services. Archive unused storage onto tape drives and power down unneeded disk drives.
  • Increase the server rack inlet temperature to 75°F by raising the SEDC setpoint temperature and improving air flow management.

The project was funded by the Environmental & Economic Research and Development (EERD) Program under Focus on Energy, the Wisconsin statewide energy efficiency and renewable resource program funded by Wisconsin ratepayers.

Related Links:

Final Report: Small Embedded Data Centers in Wisconsin
Project summary page

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