July 16th, 2002
Berkeley Lab Science Beat Berkeley Lab Science Beat
Major new state funding for reducing web server-farm power
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In early March, the California Energy Commission (CEC) announced that it was awarding a grant of $500,000 to Berkeley Lab to conduct research designed to reduce the energy use of server farms in California by 30 percent. About 17 percent of the nation's server farms are located in the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley, requiring about 80 megawatts of power to run. Saving 30 percent of this would free up to 24 megawatts of power.
Inside a server farm

"Any megawatt savings would be really helpful to California in the next few summers," says Commissioner Arthur Rosenfeld, chair of the Commission's Research, Development, and Demonstration Committee. "Twenty-four megawatts of electricity running continuously will supply 24,000 average California homes."

There are three parts to the research. The first will characterize the power load drawn by data centers in California -- determining where the data centers are in the state and how much electricity they use. Researchers will then study three to five centers in depth and develop case studies showing opportunities for improved energy efficiency. The third phase, in cooperation with the private sector, will be to develop a road map for improving the efficiency of California data centers.

Dale Sartor and William Tschudi of the Environmental Energy Technologies Division's Applications Team are managing the project; Jonathan Koomey of EETD's Energy Analysis Department
will participate in the first phase. The team is also conducting a case study review of a data center in New York for the New York State Energy Research and Development Administration. NYSERDA and the CEC will share results of their research to help better manage power used by data centers in both states.