Green IT- Let's get Certified!

Mike Allen
April 20, 2015

"In an effort to differentiate themselves and stand out from their competition, datacenter companies around the world have been focusing on being green for quite some time. With green technology quickly dominating the industry and more datacenter operator's looking to implement energy efficient practices, different certifications have been created. These certifications not only set companies apart from their competition but also allow customers to gain a better understanding of company protocols and how they support their environment. On the downside, as companies across the world join the ""Green Initiative"" and more certifications are created this leads to confused customers who just want to know the difference and which certification is right for them. This is where we have come in- we have researched and chosen the most popular certifications found in data centers worldwide. Being one of the top reporters of datacenter news, Let us walk you through some of the top certifications for green technology that are available for use in datacenters.

CERTIFIED ENERGY EFFICIENT DATA CENTER AWARD (CEEDA)

CEEDA is the newest certification available and stands out because it focuses on datacenters and operational efficiency. Originally it was used only in the US, however its popularity has expanded and it is now used in Australia, Asia and Latin America as well. CEEDA adopts a holistic view of energy efficiency spanning from engineering to software and also provides facilities with an audited and certified assessment of energy efficient practices within the data center.
One of the unique areas that CEEDA focuses on is the contrasts that exist sometimes between facility managers who are focused on operating the datacenters and IT professionals who are focused on managing the software utilized by the datacenter. By creating prerequisites that include communication between the IT and engineering departments there is a hope that the two can work together to create greater efficiency. Since CEEDA requires participation from all areas of a facility from IT to Electrical and plumbing it makes it necessary that there is a company wide effort to go green.

LEADERSHIP IN ENERGY & ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN(LEED)


LEED, Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a certification that is nationally recognized and encourages the best-in-class building strategies and practices. LEED is intended to help building owners and operators by ensuring that they are environmentally responsible and use resources efficiently. To meet the requirements of the LEED Certification the building project must satisfy all perquisites required and earn points to achieve different levels of certification. Points are based on water efficiency, sustainable sites, materials and resources, indoor environment, energy and atmosphere, and regional priority.
The certification relies on documentation as opposed to on-site testing, and lasts forever. This is an advantage to companies that find it difficult to re-qualify for certifications each year. One disadvantage is unique to particular states such as Alabama, Georgia, Maine, and Mississippi which prohibit the use of LEED in new public buildings because they prefer other industry standards. Another downside to this certification is the initial costs. Often when datacenters are pursuing the LEED rating, the initial costs of construction and design is high. This can be looked at as a negative or positive advantage because although the costs might be higher initially it is said to save money in the long run.

ISO 50001 CERTICATION


ISO 50001 is a widely used International Environmental Management Standard (EMS). The purpose of the ISO 50001 is to establish the systems and procedures necessary to improve datacenters energy performance including energy efficiency, energy use and consumption. This certification helps organizations that hope to make better use of energy consuming equipment by promoting the best energy management practices. It also provides a framework of different requirements for organizations so they are able to use data to better understand and make decisions around energy usage. With ISO 50001 facilities are able to continually improve their overall efforts to improve environmental management.
There are many benefits that can be achieved by implementing an ISO 50001 model such as reduction in cost, increase in energy efficiency throughout the facility, enhanced customer satisfaction, access to new markets and increased market share. Facilities that utilize this certification find a reduction in cost because by using ISO they are given strategic tools that assist facilities in minimizing waste and errors which in turn increases the facilities overall productivity. The standards that accompany the ISO 50001 also ensure that products and services are safe, reliable and of good quality which also helps reduce costs in the long run. By helping to optimize operations this certification improves the bottom line.

ENERGY STAR

Energy Star is also very popular in the industry and used from businesses to private home owners. In 2010, EPA Energy Star began working with data center facilities to assist them in comparing their energy usage to others, estimate their carbon footprint and track and report their energy saving progress. Facilities are able to utilize interactive tools such as the Portfolio Manager which helps track energy and water consumption. They focus on areas such as IT, Airflow Management, HVAC adjustments.
As with the other certifications there are advantages as well as disadvantages to being certified by Energy Star. Since the process is fairly simple and straight forward it makes it easier for facilities to participate in. To become certified, Energy Star requires the datacenter to gather information that they typically already track which makes it a faster process. Unlike LEED, this certification is datacenter focused which many companies value. There is also no costs to becoming Energy Star certified which is a huge advantage. The downside of this certification is that it is best to use with datacenters that occupy an entire building. For facilities that are occupied in larger commercial buildings they would need to enter information for the entire building. They would then get a single rating for the building as a whole. It also needs to be renewed annually which makes it another task for management to add to their growing to do list.

GREEN GLOBES (GBI)

Green Globes is a web-based program for commercial buildings and is marketed as an alternative to the LEED rating system. Although it is primarily used in Canada and the US it is licensed for us by BOMA Canada and the Green Building Initiative. There a two types of GBI Certification- the Green Globes NC which is used for new construction and the Green Globes CIEB which is for continual improvement of existing buildings. The certification utilizes a web-based program that includes tools used to help with evaluation as well as a protocol using a user-friendly online interface. According to the Green Globes website ""Green Globes is structured as a self-assessment to be done in-house using a project manager and design team. The system is questionnaire-based with pop-up tips, which show the applicable technical tables that are needed to reply to the questions. An online manual is also available. Users can see how points are being awarded and how they are scoring"". The categories the GBI assesses are: Project Management- Policies and Practice, Site, Energy, Water, Resources, Emissions and the Indoor Environment.

Although the different certifications might boggle the brain, its well worth the time and effort to participate in Green IT. Management teams just need to do their research and find out which certificates work best for them. Now that we have taken care of some of that research and walked you through popular certifications, the hard part is done. You might now be wondering what the importance of participating in the certification process really is. Is it really worth the time and effort required to be certified? As many operators know Data center costs are continually on the rise, and there's no signs of slowing down. As the expenses rack up, management teams should make the effort to discover the different and cost effective ways that will reduce their carbon footprint and decrease overhead charges. This is where deciding which certifications will be the most valuable comes into play. Obtaining at least one certification has shown proven cost-effectiveness, a boost in employee productivity, reduced liability for owners, and an increase in a building's property value. It also adds a competitive edge over competition which helps increase sales and popularity on the market. Although each certification offers participating facilities different benefits as a whole they are crucial to companies' operational success. So let's get on with it- the research is done now it's time to get certified!"



    Mike Allen

    "In an effort to differentiate themselves and stand out from their competition, datacenter companies around the world have been focusing on being green for quite some time. With green technology quickly dominating the industry and more datacenter operator's looking to implement energy efficient practices, different certifications have been created. These ...