Google criticises data centre energy standards

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Google criticises data centre energy standards

Shouldn't dictate how efficiency is achieved.

Google has called for changes to new US rules on energy standards for data centres to make them less prescriptive.

Urs Hoelzle, senior vice president of operations at Google, said in a blog post that the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers now includes data centres in its Standard 90.1 building efficiency standard that defines energy efficiencies in building design.

Hoelzle explained that setting energy standards for data centres is important, but suggested that the precise rules should be less firm, and should include rules on what technology should be employed to ensure efficiencies.

"We believe that for data centres, where the energy used to perform a function (e.g. cooling) is easily measured, efficiency standards should be performance-based, not prescriptive," he said.

"In other words, the standard should set the required efficiency without prescribing the specific technologies to accomplish that goal."

Hoelzle added that the proposed standard "dictates" what type of cooling methods should be used, and often chooses the wrong method.

"For example, the standard requires data centres to use economisers, but simply requiring their use doesn't guarantee an efficient system, and they may not be the best choice," he said.

"Future cooling methods may achieve the same or better results without the use of economisers altogether."

Hoelzle explained that companies need standards that let them innovate while still meeting regulatory efficiency requirements.

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