U.S. EPA Looking for Industry Input on Energy Star for Storage

April 26, 2009 – 4:17 pm

Following up on previous blog posts, here is some information that the U.S. EPA is looking for comments from industry on an Energy Start for enterprise storage program following on the heels of the Energy Star for Server program.

US EPA Energy Star LogoUS EPA Energy Star wants and needs you!
U.S. EPA Energy Star Wants and Needs You!

Here’s the message received from the EPA via their mailing list this past week (in italics below):

Dear Enterprise Storage Equipment Manufacturers and Other Interested Parties:

Please see the attached letter from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announcing their intent to pursue development of an ENERGY STAR specification for Enterprise Storage equipment.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Andrew Fanara, EPA, at [email protected] or Stephen Pantano, ICF International, at [email protected].

Thank you for your support of ENERGY STAR.

Here’s the intro letter excerpted from the above email notification (in italics below):

April 23, 2009

Dear Enterprise Storage Equipment Manufacturers and Other Interested Parties:

This letter is intended to inform all stakeholders that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) intends to continue its efforts towards the development of an ENERGY STAR® specification for enterprise data storage equipment. Following is an outline of EPA’s general goals and next steps.

ENERGY STAR is a voluntary partnership between government, businesses, and purchasers designed to encourage the manufacture, purchase, and use of efficient products to help protect the environment. Products that earn the ENERGY STAR prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy efficiency guidelines. Manufacturers that qualify their products to meet ENERGY STAR requirements may use the label as a tool to educate their customers about the enhanced value of these products.

To date:
•More than 2,000 manufacturers are partnering with ENERGY STAR,
•More than 40,000 product models carry the ENERGY STAR label across more than 50 product categories,
•More than 70% of Americans recognize the ENERGY STAR label,
•Consumers have purchased more than 2.5 billion ENERGY STAR qualified products, and
•Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved enough energy in 2008 to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 29 million cars — while saving $19 billion on utility bills.

In the last several years, the energy saving opportunities in data centers have been well documented. However, barriers to energy efficiency still persist and need to be addressed. EPA is pursuing a dual strategy to overcome these challenges by helping purchasers more easily identify energy efficient IT equipment with the use of the ENERGY STAR designation, and by encouraging organizations to benchmark the energy performance of their data centers.

In pursuit of this strategy, EPA will introduce an ENERGY STAR Computer Server specification in the coming weeks. In addition, EPA recently conducted a scoping effort to evaluate enterprise storage products for inclusion in the ENERGY STAR program. EPA reviewed available market research and facilitated discussions with product manufacturers, industry associations, and other interested parties. EPA concluded that IT purchasers would benefit from access to standardized information about the energy performance of storage equipment made available through the ENERGY STAR program. As a result, EPA intends to begin the specification development process. Details on this process will be forthcoming in the next several weeks.

To be added to the enterprise storage e-mail distribution list, please send your full contact information to Stephen Pantano at [email protected] To stay informed about the ENERGY STAR specification development process for computer servers and other EPA data center initiatives please visit: www.energystar.gov/datacenters.

Thank you for your continued support of ENERGY STAR and please direct additional questions to Andrew Fanara at [email protected] or Stephen Pantano of ICF International, at [email protected]


Andrew Fanara
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Climate Protection Partnerships Division ENERGY STAR Program Manager

My take on the Energy Star programs is that as long as they add value including reflecting how energy is effectively used both when IT equipment such as servers and storage are in use, as well as in energy saving or avoidance modes are reflected, they can and should be a good thing.

However industry will need to work together across different trade and focus groups as well as factor in how supporting metrics will be applicable and reflective thus accepted by IT data center environments. This means metrics and measurements for both active or working while in use energy efficiency modes such as IOPS, bandwidth, messages or transactions, files or videos per watt of energy, as well as metrics for in-active or dormant data such as capacity per watt per usable footprint. Check out Chapter 5 (Measurements and Metrics) in "The Green and Virtual Data Center" (CRC) to learn more.

Various industry trade and focus groups including Storage Performance Council (SPC), SNIA GSI, Green Grid, SPEC and others are working on various metrics and aligning themselves to work with EPA. If you are in an IT data center involved with servers or storage, consider getting involved with one or more of these groups to help influence and shape what these programs will look like or affect your organization in the future.

Ok, nuff said.

Cheers gs

Greg Schulz – Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press) and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier)
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