Friday, August 08, 2008

Computer Power Efficiency for Servers, Government and Home Users

The US EPA is starting to turn its attention to Enterprise Server and Data Centers, working is way up from desktop computers, but already some manufacturers are making energy efficiency claims for their rack mounted equipment. Supermicro claims to have the first 1U server with 90%+ power efficiency using the 80 Plus power specification, based on Energy Star and the Climate Savers Computing Initiative (CSCI). But this is a measure of just the efficiency of the power supply of the server, not of the fans, CPU, memory or disk drives.
The 80 Plus power specification is based on established criteria from Energy Star(R) and the Climate Savers Computing Initiative (CSCI). It requires power supplies in computers and servers to deliver 80% or greater energy efficiency at 20%, 50% and 100% of the rated load with a true power factor of 0.9 or greater. At a step higher, the silver level requires 85% or more energy efficiency at or above 20% loading.

From: Supermicro Ships World's First 1U Server Solutions Achieving New Power Efficiency Standard, Super Micro Computer, Inc., 5 August 2008
The number of such claims is getting very confusing. Ingram Micro Inc. is providing Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) via the nonprofit Green Electronics Council, for evaluating desktop computers, notebooks and monitors.

There is a database of EPEAT-registered products. EPEAT uses environmental performance standardsin IEEE 1680- 2006. US Executive Order 13423, "Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management (PDF)," (January 24, 2007) requires agencies to acquire EPEAT-registered electronic products for at least 95 percent of electronic product acquisitions, where there is an EPEAT standard for such products (there are also Implementing Instructions). The Australian Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) has included a requirement for EPEAT silver rating, is a Request for Tender for Desktop and Midrange Services this week.

Companies are also starting to use green claims in marketing consumer desktop computers. Dell released the Dell Studio Hybrid PC, July 29, 2008. This is a small desktop computer (9 inch) named after the hybrid car to suggest energy eficiency.

Verdiem have released a free windows program "Edison" for energy-monitoring and adjusting power settings in PCs.

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