Programs developed by federal agencies and public utilities across the country have succeeded in dramatically reducing the power consumption of many of our country's largest data centers and telecommunications facilities. Even with these many successes, the use of energy by our public and private sector data centers continues to grow at an annual rate of over 12 percent and now accounts for 1.5 percent of electricity use in the U.S.

Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu recently announced plans to provide $50 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support Energy Efficiency Improvements for Information and Communications Technology. These plans are intended to provide for the research, development, and demonstration of new technologies that will improve energy efficiency in the fastest-growing sectors of American business, while creating jobs and stimulating economic growth.

On June 2, 2009, DOE's Industrial Technologies Program issued a $50 million solicitation entitled "Energy Efficient Information and Communication Technology." According to DOE, the program seeks to develop new technologies that will dramatically improve energy efficiency in IT with an emphasis on new technologies that can be commercialized within the next 3 to 5 years and to demonstrate through field testing highly energy-efficient, emerging technologies that are ready for or are in the initial stage of commercial introduction.

The solicitation can be viewed at http://tiny.cc/WyGhX. All $50 million should be awarded to projects that reply to this announcement, and the solicitation calls for all funds to be spent within two years of the date of award. The deadline for response to DE-FOA-0000107 was July 21, 2009.

Save Energy Now Assessments

The DOE's Industrial Technologies Program recently released DC Pro, an online software tool designed to help industries worldwide quickly diagnose how energy is being used by their data centers and how they might save energy and money. DC Pro can help companies benchmark data center energy use and identify opportunities to reduce energy by 25 percent or more. The DOE will work with data center owners and operators by demonstrating the value of these assessments at selected facilities across the country.

The largest, most energy-intensive plants in the United States can apply to receive a three-day system assessment from a DOE energy expert who will use the DOE's software tools to analyze energy use and help find ways to improve efficiency. Small and medium-sized plants can receive a one-day assessment from one of DOE's university-based Industrial Assessment Centers.

Through these energy assessments, DOE's Save Energy Now program helps data center owners and operators quantify immediate opportunities for energy and cost savings. You can learn how to prepare for, apply, and participate in an assessment, implement energy savings recommendations, and communicate your success at http://tiny.cc/NYGGO .

Certified Energy Practitioner Program

Through Save Energy Now, the DOE is partnering with industry to develop a Data Center Certified Energy Practitioner (DC-CEP) Program to accelerate energy savings in data centers. The DOE plans to have at least 200 practitioners certified by 2011.

DC-CEPs will be qualified to identify and evaluate energy-efficiency opportunities in data centers using DOE's DC Pro suite of software tools. Significant knowledge, training, and skills are required to perform accurate energy assessments in data centers. DC-CEPs must meet a qualification standard, pass a certification exam demonstrating proficiency in the use of the tools, and train on conducting data center energy assessments using the DC Pro assessment process.

Property management companies, engineering consulting firms, service companies, data center operators, state energy agencies, and utilities will benefit from the expertise provided by DC-CEPs. Read more about the Data Center Certified Energy Practitioner Program at http://tiny.cc/xWeLX.

DOE and ASHRAE

The DOE is also developing several training certificate programs for data center end users that will focus on data center energy efficiency. A new course offered by the DOE and ASHRAE will focus on energy efficiency for data center cooling equipment, electrical, IT equipment, and alternative power.

One of the first classes to be offered has been announced and is scheduled for October 21st in Atlanta at Georgia Tech's Global Learning and Conference Center. The one-day course will be included with DCJ Education's training programs to be offered during the week of October 19th through the 23rd. Those who wish to register for the DCJ Education week-long training or the DOE/ASHRAE training event can register at www.dcjeducation.com.

Critical Facilities Round Table

Along with other industry stakeholders, Critical Facilities Round Table (CFRT) members have played instrumental roles in the development and implementation of DOE data center energy efficiency plans including the development of program roadmaps, DC Pro tools, and DC-CEP programs.

CFRT is a non-profit organization based in the Silicon Valley and dedicated to the sharing of information and solutions amongst our members made up of critical facilities owners and operators. Please visit our Web site at www.cfroundtable.org or contact us at (415) 748- 0515 for more information.