Bush signs law to study data center energy usage

Bill authorises the EPA to analyse the growth of energy consumption at data centers

U.S. President George Bush has signed legislation directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to study energy use in data centers.

Bush Wednesday signed the bill, passed by the Senate Dec. 8, which authorizes the EPA to analyze the growth of energy consumption at data centers. The issue is a growing concern to companies that operate large groups of servers, storage devices and other computer equipment. Many data center operators find that the cost of electricity and of the air conditioning that keeps servers cool rivals the cost of the servers themselves.

The EPA study should help to promote more energy efficient solutions across the high-technology industry, said Steve Kester, manager of the government relations division of Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD), a maker of server processors and one of several high technology companies endorsing the bill.

"We're very pleased that the [Bush] administration sees this as important," Kester said. The EPA study is expected to take about six months to complete and could result in the agency establishing measurements to judge the energy efficiency of servers, processors and other data center equipment.

AMD hosted a forum Dec. 6 at its headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and representatives of major technology firms, including Dell Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc. and Intel Corp. The DOE's office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy called the gathering a "tech industry working group" to exchange ideas on energy conservation.

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