Data centers and server rooms require large amounts of energy to operate and the push now is to reduce the use of energy in data centers - green initiatives. Additional encouragement is coming from utilities throughout the United States in the form of energy efficiency rebates and incentives.
Typically, energy efficiency programs focus on new data center construction, retrofitting the current environment, or optimization of the equipment in the data center. They encourage everything from server consolidation projects to energy efficiency "refreshes," such as installing more efficient servers and cooling technology.
Recently Electronic Environments installed 13 Ultrasonic Humidifiers at a customer site - the customer worked with their local utility and is receiving $47,000 from the utility in the form of a rebate based on the energy savings they will receive from the ultrasonic humidifiers.
There are many different types of incentives and rebates available from local utilities and state energy efficiency programs, so make sure you do your homework to see if your energy savings initiatives are eligible for the rebates/incentives.
According to Forrester Research - Government bodies and an increasing number of utilities have mechanisms in place that encourage business engagement in more environmentally sustainable behaviors. These mechanisms typically take on one of three forms: arbitrage, incentives, or penalties. Forrester recommends IT leaders get up to speed on the mechanisms available in their region, since the financial implications - both cost avoidance and savings - can be compelling and further improve the return on investment from green initiatives. Because incentive programs vary widely depending on your location of operation (e.g., state), a great starting point is to call your local utility provider and government representative.
The onus is on data center managers to start implementing energy efficiency measures as soon as possible. Data center power demand has risen steadily over the last 4 to 5 years - if that doesn't change, the data center industry may be headed into regulation. Different states have already enacted legislation in curtailing data center power usage, the Federal Government could be following suit. When this happens, energy rebates will disappear as well.
These resources, coupled with reduced energy bills, provide a compelling financial return on the initial efficiency investment as well as a positive message of corporate responsibility.
Has your company participated in any energy rebates? If so, can you share your experience?