The Energy Efficiency Improvement Act: A Smart Step on Energy Efficiency

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This week, the U.S. House of Representatives will consider HR 2126, "Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2014," formerly the “Better Buildings Act of 2013,” which will help the federal government harness information technologies and data centers for improved energy performance and efficiency.  The bill, which will save federal resources and therefore taxpayer dollars, should pass easily, and it deserves to do so.

The bill has four titles, one of which (Title III) is near and dear to ITI.  The title is based on HR 540, the “Energy Efficient Government Technology Act,” that was introduced a year ago by Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Mike Rogers (R-MI).  As Congress continues to look for opportunities to make government more effective and function more efficiently, this is exactly the kind of solution that will achieve that without requiring even a single dollar in additional federal spending.

If enacted, this title would increase productive federal government use of energy-efficient and energy-saving technologies, such as advanced metering infrastructures; asset and infrastructure utilization solutions; advanced power management tools; travel substitution tools; and, fleet and logistics management tools.  It would also further build on the partnership that already exists between our industry and the federal government in advancing energy efficient data center strategies. 

Data centers are the workhorses of the latest waves of information communications technology (ICT) innovation: cloud computing, the rapid expansion of mobile technology, and the shift from physical media to digital streaming.  None of these ICT innovations would be possible without data centers.  There is a consequence to this reliance, though, namely the growing resource use of data centers and the stress that places on the larger system.  Industry has responded swiftly by innovating next-generation technologies that dramatically shrink the physical, energy, and water footprint while boosting performance and cutting costs.

The federal government is one of the biggest operators of data centers and is also the single-largest energy user in the U.S.  Replacing and consolidating larger and older data centers with smaller, next-gen facilities would save the government money, cut energy consumption, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and provide early support for emerging technologies.  Enactment of the Title III of HR 2126 would bring us closer to realizing this reality. 

There is a long history of collaboration in this area between ITI and Reps. Eshoo and Rogers.  It began back in 2005 with the introduction and subsequent enactment of what became PL 109-431.  This bill resulted in the first, and to date only, major governmental report on data center efficiency, “EPA Report on Server and Data Center Energy Efficiency.”  It was continued with key provisions on efficiency and data centers that were enacted in 2007 as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA).    

The House of Representatives should pass the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act and ITI looks forward to adding another successful collaboration and enactment this year. 

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