While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Report to Congress, published in 2007, predicted a doubling of global power consumption between 2005 and 2010, the actual increase was only 56 percent. Energy consumption in the U.S. reportedly increased by only 30 to 36 percent. The energy increases predicted by the EPA did not materialize, in part, because the nation’s data centers deployed fewer servers than the EPA report predicted. The U.S. also experienced a lower than expected demand for computing, because of the financial crisis of 2008.
Certainly more efficient computer chips and technologies like computer server virtualization, which allows fewer servers to run more applications, contributed to the energy savings. Even so, U.S. data centers now account for between 1.7 and 2.2 percent of the total electricity used in the country. New studies assess current trends in energy use and costs and also outline some existing and emerging opportunities for improved energy efficiency/reduction.