Today, the world generates more data in two days than was generated in all of human history prior to 2003. This data must be stored and processed at massive data centers which are often highly energy inefficient. The New York Times reported that “data centers can waste 90 percent or more of the electricity they pull off the grid,” running their facilities at maximum capacity around the clock out of fear of a surge in demand that could crash the system. Over the last decade, data center energy use has quadrupled and will continue to grow as our lives become increasingly tied to the digital world. As an operator of thousands of data centers across the country, Rep. Eshoo believes the federal government should lead by example in improving the energy efficiency of its data centers.
Rep. Eshoo introduced the Energy Efficient Government Technology Act, which would require the federal government to improve the energy efficiency of its information and communications technology, with an emphasis on data centers. It is estimated that the bill could save taxpayers $300 million annually, and would set an example for the private sector to reduce energy usage at data centers.
The Energy Efficient Government Technology Act passed the House of Representatives by voice vote with no opposition on January 10, 2017. It is currently awaiting consideration in the Senate.