Cundall raise questions about PUE effectiveness

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Cundall, an international multi-disciplinary consultancy that has delivered a portfolio of green buildings including the Facebook Odense data centre, has raised questions regarding the use of power usage effectiveness (PUE) in measuring data centre efficiency. 

The company said that PUE is an incomplete metric because it considers only the power delivered to the rack, rather than the use to which that power is put, such as cooling, computing or other uses. Instead, the company suggested that Total Power Usage Effectiveness (TUE) should be used as a basis to better understand how efficient a facility is.

“Although TUE has been around for over 10 years, it has gone largely unnoticed and unadopted by a large percentage of the industry,” Malcolm Howe, critical systems partner for Cundall, said. “Yet the metric holds the possibility of a more precise indication of overall data centre energy performance. Whilst the debate continues about creating new metrics, raising awareness of TUE, and promoting it as an industry benchmark standard for data centre energy efficiency, could be very valuable in helping data centre operators implement improvements in performance.”

The firm said that, following the IPCC’s report on global warming last month, now is the time for the data centre industry to seriously consider new metrics, designs, processes and actions if the industry is to achieve sustainability targets, such as, net zero emissions in the timescales announced.

Dozens of data centre companies have announced new or enhanced sustainability targets over the last 12 months, with some now working towards a hard deadline for net zero emissions. Recent announcements have been made by Colt, Vantage, O2, Amazon and Facebook.

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