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Eshoo, Kinzinger Reintroduce Bipartisan Data Center Efficiency Bill

March 4th, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.), Ranking Member of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, and Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, reintroduced today bipartisan legislation to save taxpayer money and energy by increasing energy efficiency in federal data centers. Their bill, the Energy Efficient Government Technology Act, passed the House in the 113th Congress by a vote of 375 to 36.

“Today the world generates more data in 12 hours than was generated in all of human history prior to 2003. When this bill passed the House last year, that statistic was for every two days,” said Eshoo, who is also a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. “Ten exabytes of data per day travel our global networks and this rate is growing rapidly. This data must be stored and processed at vast data centers which can be highly energy inefficient, wasting money and precious energy resources. The Energy Efficient Government Technology Act will save the federal government energy and money by requiring the use of energy efficient and energy saving technologies, specifically in federal data centers.”

“The federal government depends on a vast array of over 2,000 data centers housing energy-consuming servers,” Kinzinger said. “These data centers support everyday operations from electronic communications to data storage, consuming an estimated 2 percent of all electricity in the United States. The Energy Efficient Government Technology Act will deliver savings to the American tax-payers who are footing these energy bills by increasing energy efficiency, reducing overall energy consumption, and eliminating e-waste in these data centers.”

Three additional members of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Reps. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), David McKinley (R-W.Va.), and Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), joined Eshoo and Kinzinger in reintroducing this bipartisan legislation.

Background

As the nation’s largest landowner, employer, and energy user, this data center legislation would make the federal government a leader in improving the energy efficiency of its data centers.

Federal data centers make up 10 percent of all U.S. data center energy use, which translates to an estimated $600 million in energy costs in 2010 alone, the last year when data was available. The Department of Energy estimates that implementation of best practices alone could reduce the government’s data center energy bill by 20 to 40 percent. And when new efficient technologies are employed, many small data centers could slash their energy use by up to 90 percent.

The rising importance of data centers in the everyday lives of Americans often goes unnoticed, but data centers now consume an estimated 2 percent of all electricity in the United States. Over the last decade, data center energy use has quadrupled and will continue to grow as we become increasingly tied to the digital world.

Specifically, the Energy Efficient Government Technology Act would:

  • Require federal agencies to develop plans to purchase and use more energy efficient technologies, and submit to periodic evaluation of their data centers for energy efficiency.
  • Require an update to a 2007 Report to Congress that has formed the baseline for data center energy efficiency since its release, but is very much in need of an update.
  • Create an Open Data Initiative for the purpose of making federal data center energy usage information available in a way that empowers further data center innovation, while protecting national security interests.

This legislation will not increase government spending. Instead, it has the potential to save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in reduced energy costs in the future, while setting an example for the private sector to reduce energy usage at data centers. The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) found that widespread adoption of energy efficient information technologies could save the federal government over $5 billion in energy costs through 2020.

Energy Efficient Government Technology Act (as introduced)

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