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Managing Carbon Emissions and Energy Consumption in the Data Center

As governments around the world continue to explore and implement carbon emissions standards and carbon reduction commitments, many companies will be required to participate in auction-based carbon emissions trading schemes that are designed to provide economic and reputational incentives for achieving reductions in emissions. In many cases, those companies that do not reduce emissions could face financial penalties in the form of emissions credits they will need to purchase. They could even have their performance published in an annual league table in relation to other scheme participants.

For example, in the United Kingdom, the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC) comes into force in April 2010 to promote energy efficiency and help reduce carbon emissions. This carbon cap and trade program requires companies in the UK, including those headquartered in the country and foreign companies with UK subsidiaries, to forecast their energy usage, purchase carbon allowances from the government, and monitor actual usage against forecast emissions.

While the United States has not yet enacted any sort of carbon cap and trade program, it appears that the government is heading in this direction. In late 2009, the U.S. government announced reporting requirements for greenhouse gases (GHGs), such as carbon dioxide and methane, recognizing that they pose a hazard to human health. This means that the EPA is now taking steps to regulate them.

In a research report issued at the end of 2009, research firm IDC predicted that there will be a renewed focus on reducing CO2 emissions, at both the national and international levels. The firm suggested that by the end of 2010 all G20 nations will mandate companies to report on their carbon footprints.

By utilizing Aperture to implement all aspects of Data Center Service Management™ (DCSM™) you can gain a comprehensive view of your energy efficiency opportunities and initiatives that correlate service with the operating, personnel and capital equipment expenses required to achieve varying service levels. This increased discipline and maturity to the management of your data center will help uncover carbon reduction opportunities and allow you to better manage and track your data center carbon reduction commitment.

Figure 1: Data Center Carbon Output Tracked Over Time

 Aperture supports data center carbon reduction commitments by helping you uncover and identify:

  • The amount of carbon your facility is currently producing, as well as the total amount it will produce in the future
  • The amount of carbon produced by a specific piece of equipment, such as a UPS unit or a server rack
  • The amount of carbon credits/allowances that you will need to purchase for any given year to meet business demands
  • How close you are to your carbon allowance threshold and a projected time when you might exceed it
  • Past carbon production over any given time period
  • Projected carbon production tied to any data center expansions or new requirements
  • Non-productive servers that can be scheduled for decommissioning and the impact it would have on carbon production
  • Technology refresh areas where older devices might be replaced with new higher-efficiency equipment