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European data centre managers get low down on new Green Grid efficiency measurements

Emily Smoucha
19th April 2011
New measurements to monitor the carbon and water efficiency of data centres are to be debated at Europe’s largest content forum for these facilities next month.
The new Carbon Usage Efficiency (CUE) and Water Usage Efficiency (WUE) tools have been developed by the Green Grid Association, an IT business consortium promoting efficiency, to help data centre managers quickly assess the water and carbon sustainability aspects of their facilities. Scientists estimate that the energy footprint of the internet is growing by more than 10 per cent each year – and running data centres is a major part of that growing footprint.

The two measurements join the Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) rating, a metric already widely used by data centre managers to better determine the efficiency of their facilities.

The seventh annual DataCentres 2011, being held in Nice, France, features an in-depth assessment of the new tools including contributions from Mark Monroe, executive director of The Green Grid.

The Green Grid believes the CUE could have a big impact on the efficiency of data centres. It is thought the measurement will be particularly useful in the UK, where the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme, requires large public and private sector organisations, including data centres, to report their carbon emissions from heat and electricity use and to purchase carbon allowances for them.

"The Green Grid feels that CUE [...] will have the same positive impact on the industry as did PUE and sees this as a huge opportunity for the industry to rally around," the Green Grid says in a Carbon Usage Effectiveness paper. "Moving forward, The Green Grid recommends the use of CUE even though refinement is needed for this metric."

In addition to monitoring carbon emissions, The Green Grid has also launched its Water Usage Efficiency (WUE) programme, which will measure how much water is used in cooling as well as to support IT equipment. In calculating the WUE, the measurements will take into account what happens to the water when it returns to the environment.

Together, the PUE, CUE and WUE are designed to see what can be done to current data centres before new ones are built because energy, carbon emissions and water use are all factors in the design of these centres.
DataCentres 2011
The DataCentres 2011 conference will run from May 5-6. As well as the new data centre measurements, the Green Grid session will debate the changing nature of energy resources for data centres, the impact of Cloud and what the future looks like for these centres.

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European data centre managers get low down on new Green Grid efficiency measurements
The Green Grid has developed the Carbon Usage Efficiency (CUE) and Water Usage Efficiency (WUE) tools
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