The LEED saga continues.  I’ve mentioned some of the challenges that we’ve faced, but today presented another interesting one.  I assumed because our purchasing specifications included statements like “systems that comply with the US EPA Energy Star requirements” that we would qualify for the Energy Star points on the LEED rating system.  Today, I learned how naive I am.  In fact, while several vendors have machines that in fact to have an EPA stamp of Energy Star compliance, they are few and far between right now.

 

Energy Star was a program started initially around residential power use.  As a result, most items that have the Energy Star seal are appliances or electronics in the consumer space.  A check of the EPA website shows fewer than 15 enterprise, server class machines that qualify for the rating.  So while many vendors state that they have Energy Star-compliant equipment, they do not in fact have too many machines that actually went through and successfully completed the process.

 

Let’s compare some from my data center as examples.  We run an HP shop (this is not an endorsement of their product or a sales pitch, just disclosure that we have them as an architectural standard).  So I have a wide variety of their equipment.  For our Microsoft Exchange upgrade, we installed Energy Star certified HP Proliant DL380 G6 rack-optimized servers.  These are currently the only series of HP machines that have the seal.  For most of my purchasing, however, I prefer HP BL460c G6 or HP BL680c G6 machines that slot into a blade chassis.  What is nice about blades is that they share components like power supplies and fans.  So this reduces the power pull, and reduces the amount of waste in the product.  So from a product life cycle perspective, they are a better choice.

 

In spite of our choice to generally rely on the more energy-efficient and therefore more eco-friendly choice of the blade servers, we actually cannot claim the LEED energy star credit because these servers are merely “EnergyStar Compliant” instead of certified.  This is needless-t0-say an unfortunate outcome as we are inching closer to a possible Gold certification and any point that we miss now keeps us from that nearly impossible goal.