ESTIMATED U.S. DATA CENTER ELECTRICITY CONSUMPTION BY MARKET SEGMENT (2011)
Number of Servers
(million) Electricity Share
Total U.S. Data
Center Electricity Use
(billion k Wh/y)
Small and Medium Server Rooms 4. 9 49% 37. 5
Enterprise/Corporate Data Centers 3. 7 27% 20. 5
Multi-Tenant Data Centers 2. 7 19% 14.1
Hyper-Scale Cloud Computing 0.9 4% 3. 3
High-Performance Computing 0.1 1% 1.0
Total (rounded) 12. 2 100% 76.4
ENERGY STAT: COMMERCIAL EQUIPMENT COVERED BY EXISTING ENERGY
STANDARDS ACCOUNTS FOR 11% OF U.S. ENERGY USE, ACCORDING TO THE
ENERGY INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION.
Much of the electricity that data
centers devour is wasted, finds
a report by the NRDC. But im-
proved energy efficiency practices could
cut energy waste by at least 40% and save
over $3 billion annually.
The study, Scaling up Energy Efficiency
across the Data Center Industry:
Evaluating Key Drivers and Barriers, takes issue
with the nearly 3 million data centers
that house 95% of servers. These guzzled
an estimated 91 billion k Wh of electricity
Although the full extent of energy waste
is unknown due to inconsistent metrics,
key areas of waste typically include:
n Up to 30% of servers are “comatose,”
meaning they are still plugged in and
consuming electricity even though they
are no longer needed.
n Much of the energy is consumed by
servers that are operating at 12-18% of
n In 80% of organizations, the department responsible for data center
management is separate from the one
paying the electric bills, reducing the
likelihood of implementing commonsense efficiency measures.
The report outlines a number of im-
provement opportunities, such as aligning
Unchecked Energy Usage in Data Centers
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incentives, developing simple metrics
for measuring server utilization, public
disclosure of energy and carbon performance, and establishing green leases for
multi-tenant data centers.
For more on data center management,
turn to Reprogram How You Work with IT
on page 32.