NSW, Fed govts trial data centre self-testing tool

DIY data centre rating tool employs NABERS efficiency system

Andrew McEachern, data centre manager at the NSW Government Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW)

Andrew McEachern, data centre manager at the NSW Government Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW)

The National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) association will trial a tool later this month designed to easily rate the energy efficiency of a data centre over time.

The tool, which will go live in October or November this year, is the result of a collaboration between the NSW Government’s Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW), and the Federal Government’s Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (DCCEE).

The tool will compile energy efficiency data taken from 33 facilities, largely in Victoria and New South Wales, to provide an “apples-to-apples” comparison of centres on a standard basis.

According to Andrew McEachern, DECCW’s data centre manager, the tool will use NABERS’ standard rating of one to five stars, with 2.5 stars being the average.

“Our new tool will allow compairson with other rated data centres and the performance of an individual data centre over time and allowing for rating of whole tenancy and co-located data centres,” he said at a data centre conference held in Sydney this week.

McEachern said data centres currently accounted for 1.5 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in Australia - compared to two per cent globally - which he said was on par with the airline industry.

However, the tool had been challenging to compile.

“No one has successfully achieved an IT load efficiency calculator inside a data centre,” McEachern said.

The rating tool will likely expand in the future to also include water efficiency, but McEachern said the number of sites was restrictive on the amount of information the tool could use to rate individual data centres.

“[We’re] more than happy to have more sites, we don’t really think 33 sites is enough,” he said. “We’re a little bit short on the northern part of the country side.”

McEachern, who is also a member of NABERS, said the inconsistent voltages provided by energy utilities made it more difficult to provide greater efficiencies within data centres.

He recently conducted tests at DECCW’s Lidcombe facility to determine the differences in IT load efficiency at 230, 240 and 250 voltage ranges, finding the lowest voltage often provided the highest savings in power load.

NABERS has flagged potential moves to add six- and seven-star ratings this year to accommodate the higher efficiency of buildings, but the tool is unlikely to use the new ratings for the time being.

Follow James Hutchinson on Twitter: @j_hutch

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Tags data centresData CenterDepartment of EnvironmentClimate Change and Water (DECCW)Andrew McEachernDepartment of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (DCCEE)National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS)NABERS

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