Wisconsin Embedded Data Center Market Characterization
Lester Shen, Christopher Plum — Feb 2018
Why This Research Is Needed
Small embedded data centers are one of the fastest growing end uses of electrical energy in commercial buildings and are estimated to account for about 2% of the total electricity use in the U.S. By various accounts, as much as one third of this usage is unnecessary, but this has not been addressed by utility programs or the majority of device manufacturers. A major barrier in taking advantage of the energy savings opportunities available to embedded data centers (EDCs) is the difficulty in effectively reaching out to a diverse and dispersed customer base. Quantifying the energy impact of EDCs in Wisconsin and better characterizing their needs could yield significant energy savings for Focus on Energy’s non-residential programs, like the Business Incentive Program, Agriculture, Schools, Government, and even Design Assistance. Optimized measure offerings and technical assistance can help customers and trades make important decisions for this market segment.
Project Process and Expected Outcomes
This Seventhwave-led project will aid Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s statewide energy efficiency and renewable resource program, in enhancing existing programs through identifying program offerings and marketing channels for embedded data centers.
This characterization study will answer the following questions:
- What are the most typical configurations, management, and size of EDCs in Wisconsin?
- How much potential is there for energy savings through the Focus on Energy program as applied to EDCs, and where does that potential lie? How do those areas differ from large data centers?
- What are the best outreach channels for reaching and eventually impacting these facilities?
- What program design practices are the best fit to drive program impact in Wisconsin?
The following tasks are being performed:
- Literature Review
- Stakeholder Survey
- Savings quantification
- Investigation of new market channels
- Follow-up field work
These tasks will describe typical Wisconsin EDCs, establish technology best practices, establish operation best practices, establish expected savings from EDC measures and recommend program improvements.
The project was funded by the Environmental & Economic Research and Development (EERD) Program under Focus on Energy, the Wisconsin statewide energy efficiency and renewable resource program funded by Wisconsin ratepayers.