Webinar: Tracking Data Center Efficiency: What PUE Can Tell Us and Where We Can Look To Better Understand Energy Performance

In this November 2021 webinar, LBNL presented its latest snapshot of efficiency in data centers, based on nearly 60 assessments of energy use and efficiency opportunities in data centers from 2006 to 2020. From those assessments, we report the standard metric for efficiency in data centers, Power Usage Effectiveness or PUE. We examine the relationship of average PUE to time, climate and data center type. In general, PUE has remained flat or declined slightly (suggesting an improvement in efficiency). Where we really see a decline is when PUE is weighted by IT capacity. That is, the larger the data center, the greater the likelihood that it is more efficient or that its efficiency has improved over time. Owners and operators of smaller data centers tend to have less time and access to capital, so smaller data centers present a tougher target for saving energy. Our data suggests that is still the case.

We will contextualize those findings on PUE with a discussion of its strengths and weaknesses as the key industry metric for efficiency. We will look at efforts to enrich the industry’s understanding of its energy use and emissions. The discussion will include alternative energy metrics and touch on the new Open Data Initiative called for in the Energy Act of 2020. The training will close with an invitation to industry actors to work with FEMP and LBNL on developing the primary use cases for ODI and identifying which variables and metrics best serve those use cases.

Monitoring and Controls