Monitoring & Controls

Monitoring and controls are essential to effective energy management, providing both the measurements to diagnose energy waste and the operational tools to respond.

High-Level Best Practices

Two key aspects of energy management are metrics and benchmarking performance. Key metrics include power usage effectiveness (PUE), partial PUEs (e.g., for HVAC, electrical distribution), energy reuse (ERF), utilization, and in the future peak flops per Watt and transactions per Watt for information performance versus energy consumed.

Benchmarking allows for a comparison to peers, the identification of opportunities and best practices, and tracking of performance over time. Data center energy and water use can be tracked and benchmarked through ENERGY STAR's Portfolio Manager, which also calculates PUE.

Data center infrastructure management (DCIM) is a comprehensive approach that has received increasing attention in the last few years. DCIM enables operators to monitor, manage, and control energy usage; inventory components; design and procure system elements; assess needs for redundancy; and track capacity for IT and infrastructure. 

The DCIM approach is often complex, and a standard definition does not exist. However, the term generally entails software that communicates with data center equipment  (e.g., IT, cooling and power infrastructure) to collect data and turn that data into useful information. With the communication mechanism in place, controls can act on this information to efficiently reduce energy use while maintaining or improving reliability. Key best practices include:

  • Create a project integration team
  • Establish continual improvement goals
  • Measure efficiency with established metrics
  • Benchmark performance
  • Evaluate and use monitoring systems for real-time management and efficiency
  • Install power monitoring
  • Use visualization tools and dashboards
  • Install an enterprise information system (EIS) to manage and sustain energy efficiency
  • Integrate multiple systems, for example, through a building automation system (BAS)

Featured Resources

Data Center Master List of Efficiency Actions 
This comprehensive list of recommended efficiency actions for data centers provides more information on the high-level best practices outlined above as well as a more detailed list of best practices related to cooling air and air management.
Download the PDF (12/2020)

Data Center Metering and Resource Guide
This guide describes how to measure power usage effectiveness (PUE), an industry-standard metric for energy efficiency in data centers. PUE is the ratio of total energy use to that of energy used by information technology (IT) equipment, which provides insight into how much energy is used for power delivery components, cooling equipment, lighting and other support systems compared to IT energy use.
Download the PDF (02/07/2017)