Energy-Efficient Server Research Mandated by Congress

The House of Representatives recently passed a bill requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to research energy-efficient servers for use in data centers worldwide. There are very practical reasons for doing such a thing, not the least of which is increasing the overall efficiency of servers themselves and possibly decreasing the overhead needed to create a dedicated data center. Since most servers tend to run constantly, it’s fairly hard to tweak their power performance – however, this is reasonably easy with most home machines (which H.R. 5646 doesn’t reference). Easy, simple ways of doing so include:

  • Turn off your computer and associated machinery when not in use. This is particularly doable in home environments, though offices may find this a little troublesome depending on maintenance schedules. Turning off your modem and other accessories when not in use or when leaving home for a long period of time can help decrease your energy bill.
  • Adjust your power settings. Most operating systems allow the user to allow the display or hard drive to shut off after a certain length of time. This is useful whether using a desktop or a laptop.
  • Don’t buy a computer that doesn’t fit your needs. Some specialty systems (such as those for gaming) are created with faster components, which can frequently require more energy to run. Choose a machine that’s right for the tasks you intend to use it for. You typically can use a slower computer for just word processing than you can for graphics design, for instance.
  • http://zithora.com/ Myles Bostwick

    I was reading over this bill at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c109:3:./temp/~c109Yzva2w:: and I really don’t feel this is any kind of landmark or even something to be excited about. The government is launching another study and using $500,000 to do it. The ultimate goal being to encourage “purchasers of computer servers to give high priority to energy efficiency as a factor in determining best value and performance for purchases of computer servers.” Why can’t the encouragement be done without the half a million dollars? Ok, there’s the topic, discuss.

  • http://zithora.com Myles Bostwick

    I was reading over this bill at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c109:3:./temp/~c109Yzva2w:: and I really don’t feel this is any kind of landmark or even something to be excited about. The government is launching another study and using $500,000 to do it. The ultimate goal being to encourage “purchasers of computer servers to give high priority to energy efficiency as a factor in determining best value and performance for purchases of computer servers.” Why can’t the encouragement be done without the half a million dollars? Ok, there’s the topic, discuss.

  • http://www.energysoapbox.org/ Peter

    The Energy Star ratings system was started by the EPA, though I’m not certain that it was in response to any sort of Congressional mandate. They established a program that today is the standard for considering the energy efficiency of appliances. There’s supposedly a new Energy Star standard for computers coming out in mid-2007. The need for power-efficient computing has been around for a while, and there’s been little research in the field that I’m completely aware of until very recently. I see no problem with such a mandate and funding for it – if anything, it will spark private innovation even more than it already has.

    I seem to recall seeing articles in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and Association of Computing Machinery literature recently on the subject of energy-efficient processors and the like. It’s not that such research doesn’t exist, it’s that it’s not currently supported by the government directly, via the EPA or otherwise.

    It does seem odd to me that the EPA should be the target of such a mandate.

  • http://www.energysoapbox.org Peter

    The Energy Star ratings system was started by the EPA, though I’m not certain that it was in response to any sort of Congressional mandate. They established a program that today is the standard for considering the energy efficiency of appliances. There’s supposedly a new Energy Star standard for computers coming out in mid-2007. The need for power-efficient computing has been around for a while, and there’s been little research in the field that I’m completely aware of until very recently. I see no problem with such a mandate and funding for it – if anything, it will spark private innovation even more than it already has.

    I seem to recall seeing articles in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and Association of Computing Machinery literature recently on the subject of energy-efficient processors and the like. It’s not that such research doesn’t exist, it’s that it’s not currently supported by the government directly, via the EPA or otherwise.

    It does seem odd to me that the EPA should be the target of such a mandate.