Action Guide

Manage Energy in Value Chain Data Centers 

Environmental Defense Fund

Opportunities for reducing energy consumption in the data centers in your value chain can improve efficiency, lower costs, and reduce your environmental impact.

Data centers contain thousands of servers, storage devices, and networking equipment that require a lot of energy to function. They are one of the largest consumers of electricity worldwide. Managing energy in data centers helps to reduce energy consumption, lower operating costs, and reduce environmental impact. Adopting energy-efficient practices can help to mitigate the environmental and financial impact of data centers and contribute to a more sustainable future.  

Energy Audits  

Conducting an energy audit can help the data centers in your value chain to identify energy waste and inefficiencies. Energy audits help determine where improvements can be made by reviewing the data center’s efficiency and operations in detail. Through energy audits, your supplier can learn which interventions will be most effective in reducing energy consumption. Coming out of an energy audit, there may be several courses of action, including some mentioned in the following section.  

Data Center Solutions  

A number of possible interventions can help the data centers in your value chain optimize energy use and reduce operating costs. Some common interventions include: 

  • Optimize Cooling Systems: Cooling is one of the largest energy consumers in data centers. To reduce energy usage, it is important to optimize the cooling system. This can be done by implementing hot and cold aisles, using blanking panels to prevent hot air recirculation, and using more efficient cooling technologies such as free cooling and liquid cooling.  
  • Virtualization: Virtualization is the process of creating virtual versions of physical servers. This allows the data centers in your supply chain to do more on each physical server, reducing the need for additional hardware and energy consumption. By consolidating servers, energy use can be significantly reduced. 
  • Power Management and Energy Management Systems: Power management software can help reduce energy use by controlling server power consumption. Power management software can automatically put servers into sleep mode when they are not in use, reducing energy consumption. This software can also extend the life of servers by reducing heat stress on components, resulting in lower maintenance costs. Energy management systems can be used to monitor and control energy consumption in data centers. They can provide real-time energy consumption data and help identify areas where energy consumption can be reduced. 
  • Energy Efficient Equipment: Using energy-efficient equipment can also help the data centers in your value chain reduce their energy consumption. When purchasing equipment, data center managers should look for equipment that is certified for energy efficiency. While implementing these tactics, and others identified through energy audits, may require an initial investment, the long-term savings can be significant.