Data Center Energy Consumption is 2% of Total US Electricity

Data center energy consumption forecast using 5 scenarios

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Data center energy consumption accounted for 1.3% of all the electricity used in the world in 2010. For the US, data centers accounted for 2% of all electricity which was lower than predicted. That’s according to the research report Worldwide Electricity Used in Data Centers by Jonathan Koomey, Stanford University published in 2011.

Koomey also found the increase in total electricity for data centers had slowed from 2005 to 2010 by only increasing 56% during that period instead of doubling as it had been predicted in the model shown here.

Koomey concluded the growth in total data center energy demand was mostly due to growth in the amount of electricity used per server. He reasoned the electricity per server was the main factor because he found the growth in the number of installed servers had slowed starting in 2007 as a result of virtualization and the global economy.

So although the number of servers continued to increase, the amount of energy per server increased even more thereby becoming the dominant factor in driving total data center energy consumption in the US and abroad.

Another great source of information on data center energy consumption is the US EPA’s Energy Star Data Center web site. There CIO’s and data center managers will find the 2007 Report to Congress on Server and Data Center Energy Efficiency which is a must read for every CIO even if you only have time for the executive summary.

What does this mean? The collective effort in virtualization and implementation of converged infrastructures is having an effect on total electricity demand for data centers not only in the US but also globally. And although the total electricity consumed by data centers continues to rise, the rate of increase is well below the projected level based on historical growth.

That’s good news for the industry and for the profession not to mention good news for the planet.

So what does it mean for you locally? When you consider that nearly every CIO and data center manager has some kind Green IT or IT Sustainability, I figured that having some idea for the total data center energy consumption and the overall effects of virtualization and implementing converged infrastructures would be useful to CIO’s.

CIO’s might find it useful to incorporate some of the reports findings into the IT strategic plan as part of developing an environmental scan in support of your Green IT goals. If not, just consider this brain food.

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