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Lavenya Dilip

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Clean Energy Economy Inescapable with the US Government’s IT Department Leading the Change

Federal Agencies are implementing measures to clean up their data centers

At Green Rack Systems we have been saying for a long time how this emphatic shift towards clean energy is inescapable.

A November study by AFCOM finds that "greening of the data center is no longer just a concept - it is actually taking place", and on a large scale, with 71.3% of all survey respondents indicating that they are actively engaged in Greening.

Now, thanks to Executive Order 13514 requiring rigid energy efficiency targets, even Federal agencies have to follow what they preach by taking the lead on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

Further, they will have to divert 50% of their waste by 2015 and arrive at a net-zero energy building requirements by 2030 for all of its 500,000 buildings.

This will be made possible by key changes made in their massive IT departments, servers and data centers. The laudable target of net-zero for their buildings would be impossible to achieve without adopting efficiency strategies that we have been discussing about in our previous blogs, such as virtualization, renewable energy, alternative cooling methods, energy tracking technology etc.

The new initiative also dictates that 95% of new acquisitions must be Energy Star or Federal Energy Management Program compliant, be EPEAT certified, contain recycled content, or otherwise be more sustainable than other products

Some specifics of the order include:

· Procurement preference for EPEAT- registered electronic products;

  • Policy implementation to enable power management, duplex printing, and other energy-efficient or environmentally preferable features on all eligible agency electronic products;
  • Environmentally sound practices in case of agency excess or surplus electronic products;
  • Procurement of Energy Star and FEMP designated electronic equipment;
  • Best management practices for energy-efficient management of servers and Federal data centers.
  • Cost-effective, innovative strategies, such as highly reflective and vegetated roofs, to minimize consumption of energy, water, and materials;
  • Reduction in the the consumption of energy, water, and materials, and identifying alternatives to renovation that reduce existing assets' deferred maintenance costs;
  • Find opportunities while procuring real estate to consolidate and dispose of existing assets, optimize the performance of the agency's real- property portfolio, and reduce associated environmental impacts
  • Rehabilitation of federally owned historic buildings utilizes best practices and technologies in retrofitting to promote long- term viability of the buildings.

In addition to the above, the directive advices employees to consider alternatives to traditional commuting and business travel such as telecommuting, web meet technologies etc.

The above practices are implementable for any office or data center outside of the governmental offices that it meant for. Now with Washington setting definite, targeted goals for itself in the green department, commercial enterprises who have lagged behind would very soon have no choice but to follow the lead.

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Lavenya Dilip was responsible for Marketing at Green Rack Systems.