7 November 2011: The University of Hertfordshire has won a prestigious Green Gown Award 2011 for its pioneering data centre refurbishment project. This outstanding achievement was announced on 3 November at the national awards ceremony held at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London.
Run by the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC), the Green Gown Awards (GGA) recognise exceptional environmental initiatives being undertaken by universities, colleges and the learning and skills sector across the UK. With 240 applications this year, a rise of 25% from 2010, GGA are firmly established as prestigious recognition of sustainability excellence in the further and higher education sectors.
The GGA covers 13 awards categories and the University has won the coveted Green ICT category. This recognises the growing environmental importance of ICT within the sector; it encompasses a variety of actions that help minimise energy consumption, carbon emissions, waste generation and other environmental impacts associated with ICT use.
After months of scrutiny the judges said the UH entry gave “Impressive examples of best-practice features which could easily be adapted by others.” At the Awards Ceremony a delighted Steve Bowes-Phipps, UH Data Centre Manager, was presented with the impressive GGA trophy which will be proudly displayed in the College Lane Learning Resources Centre.
Steve said: “Once again, the Data Centre Refurbishment project has been recognised as a beacon of good practice both in the industry and in the HE/FE sector.” He praised his project team colleagues from across the University saying the award was fully deserved: “This has been an important 3-year development for the University which has delivered not only a world-class green data centre but also an operationally efficient one.”
(with thanks to EAUC for providing this news item)
The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) have recently published their proposals for the simplification of the Climate Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency scheme.
The scheme has been criticised by many for its complexity, and as a result, the Government committed itself to simplifying the CRC and published a number of discussion papers earlier this year. DECC has now summarised the proposals for a simplified scheme, intended to be applied from Phase 2 (2013) onwards.
The most significant proposals include:
Making the qualification process easier: Under the original scheme, qualification of organisations was based on two criteria: (i) the presence of one or more settled half hourly meters; and (ii) a total electricity of at least 6,000MWh measured to such meters. Under the simplified scheme, participants will just have to prove they use a certain amount of electricity from the qualifying meter. Whether this will differ, in practice, from the original rule is currently unknown.
Reduce the number of fuels covered by the scheme: Currently participants are required to report on their energy supplies from a list of 29 fuels. DECC now proposes to reduce this number to four: electricity, gas, kerosene, and diesel (and the latter two, where used for heating purposes).
Move to fix price allowance sale: The initial scheme provided for an allowance auction from Phase 2 onward. The number of allowances would have been capped following the auction, with an option to purchase additional allowances on the secondary market. Current proposals, however, would establish two sales per year, with a fix price for allowances. This removes the need for businesses to come up with auctioning strategies, although it is unsure whether there will still be room for a secondary market and how this market evolve.
Simplifying organisational rules: Previously, participation was based on highest parent company. This caused problems to many business structures, particularly private equity and other investment funds, as it did not reflect their natural structure or processes of these organisations. Under the simplified scheme, although qualification would be maintained at highest parent company, organisations will be permitted to participate as “natural business units”. What will be considered as a natural business unit is not defined in the proposals.
Removing overlaps between the CRC scheme and other schemes: Any organisations or sites covered by a Climate Change Agreement or the EU Emissions Trading Scheme will be automatically exempt of the CRC.
Despite numerous calls from stakeholders, DECC has decided against changes made to rules dictating the landlord and tenant relationship under the scheme.
Following this review, the Government now intends to publish draft legislative proposals in early 2012 for formal public consultation.
First post of the year – so I wish all my regular readers a very Happy and Prosperous one!
I have been busy in the data centre fixing blanking panels recently – we didn’t quite have enough (we do now) but I did manage to virtually completely plug the main hot aisle. This seems to have had a great effect as my PUE has now dropped from 1.33/1.34 to 1.23/1.24 and I’m *still* running on the “Summer” setting on the CRAHs!!! Our new support and maintenance provider has started from 4th Jan 2011, so this will be sorted out soon. It’s nice to see though, that we are approaching our target PUE – if only for a month or so until the weather starts to warm up again. This gives me confidence that once the data centre is in balance, we should be able to achieve the 1.22 PUE annualised.
On another (related) note: I tried to fit some in-fill panels yesterday. These are panels that supposedly block the sides of extra-wide cabinets to prevent air escaping around the inside of them. We have 6 of these in our main comms room. I have to say, I spent about an hour in there trying these panels in every configuration I could conceive and I cannot see how they fit together to the racks. They are the correct type – from the same manufacturer – so I can’t see why it’s so difficult! I’ll have to get someone in to assist. If you are considering purchasing these – ask for a manual!
It would be easy for anyone looking to manage data centres efficiently to be confused by the plethora of competing standards emanating from various bodies around the World. This particular standard builds on your Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) rating, which is a measurement devised by the Green Grid and recently upgraded to bring in external verification. The problem is, PUE is a very blunt tool for measuring efficiency and should only really be used internally to an organisation, due to it’s susceptibility to external environmental factors and subjective decisions around what to measure.
So what value will the new rating bring? I’m tempted to say “none at all”, but as with most things, if there is a commercial or regulatory value in doing something, then there will be an almighty rush to the EPA certification queue! I think most data centre owners would be better off accrediting against the EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres (EUCoC for DCs).
The best practice techniques encouraged within the EUCoC will give an excellent starting template and provide an opportunity to lower energy, Carbon and operational costs. Become an Endorser and/or a Participant and you might just gain some commercial benefit too.
As for the problem of proliferating standards, what we need is an holistic view of Sustainable ICT that helps to pull everything together rather than just provide arbitrary ’kite marks’ against subjective quantitative measures…