Bob Sharon

27 February 2013 — The recently launched “NABERS Energy for data centres” rating system is a “tsunami” about to happen, according to Green Global Consulting founder and chief executive officer Bob Sharon.

The world-first system measures and scores the operational energy efficiency of IT equipment housed by a data centre, assesses the efficiency of infrastructure services including  airconditioning and lighting, and then  combines the IT and infrastructure elements to assess the energy efficiency of the centre as a whole.

Mr Sharon said until last week, the only measurement of a data centre was power usage effectiveness – which simply measured the amount of power coming into a centre divided by IT workload power.

But while the true calculation of a PUE was done over a 12-month period, many facilities did it “in their own way at their own time”, he said.

“This NABERS rating is the first time data centre efficiency will be independently measured as ‘apples to  apples’,” he said.

“But it’s like a big tsunami that’s going to hit. IT has always done things their own way. Their budget is CapEx not OpEx and the amount of energy used to run all that stuff is not in the hands of the IT manager – it’s facilities or someone else.”

Mr Sharon said the NABERS rating system would firstly affect those companies wanting to do business with government departments – both state and federal.

“Companies wanting to do business will need a rating. That will just get them a better chance of doing business at all,” he said.

“But the sales people are going to come back and say ‘what’s our NABERS rating, I need it for the tender’, the IT people will say ‘we don’t need that’ and there is just going to be a big bunfight at the top.

“And most businesses don’t know how much electricity they are consuming.”

The next step would be companies who were spruiking their sustainability attributes who also wanted quantifiable measurements of energy expenditure.

Mr Sharon said the first thing businesses needed to do was obtain an audit of their data centre, computer rooms and communications rooms.

“It won’t cost a fortune, and they can then put up a business case and build as a wholistic solution. We can get a return on investment in three years.”

Mr Sharon said he had found that “sustainability” talk had created many “cynical people in business who lump it all, including carbon pricing, together”.

“They say it’s all too expensive,” he said.

“But I tell them we want to focus on their bottom line with an ROI in three years.

“Businesses can be a good corporate citizen and have a great bottom line. They can’t afford not to do this.”