Legislation Passed by US Congress Promotes Purchasing Energy-Efficient Servers

July 13, 2006 by Jeff Shepard

The US House of Representatives passed legislation on Wednesday imploring Americans to "give high priority to energy as a factor in determining best value and performance for purchases of computer servers." By a vote of 417 to 4, purchasing managers for technology companies were told that it was in their "best interest" to focus on energy conservation.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), who has made energy issues a focus of his legislative activities. Rogers previously helped to create the $3.7 billion federal hydrogen fuel program, and has been a vocal supporter of the use of ethanol. The new bill directs the Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a three-month study "of the growth trends associated with data centers and the utilization of servers in the federal government and private sector."

The need for such efficiency may be timely news to the legislators in Washington, but technology companies have been striving to increase energy efficiency in servers for the last few years. Examples of these efforts include Sun Microsystems' CoolThreads® microprocessor, which are outfitted to servers, and use less power than the average light bulb; as well as Intel's Woodcrest® and Montecito® processors, which both consume approximately 30W less than their previous models. An association of technology companies (including Advanced Micro Devices, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Sun) known as the Green Grid has also been formed to promote efficient power production and consumption.

The 2006 Digital Power Forum (DPF 06) will include representatives from the companies associated with the Green Grid project, as well as many others. These leading representatives will be giving papers and making presentations that directly address the issues and concerns that have been brought into focus by the recent legislation. The DPF 06 will be held in Dallas, Texas, from September 18 until 20.