ASHRAE has published the new data center standards 90.4-2016 that sets minimum energy efficiency requirements for datacenters. The final version does not mention the PUE because it is not based on the same criteria, say from ASHRAE.

The new standard, also known as energy data center standards, has been in process for several years. It includes recommendations on the design, construction, operation and data center maintenance, as well as on the use of renewable energy from facilities and from abroad.

These datacenter standards caused some controversy last year, when ASHRAE noted that the draft included indications on permissible maximum levels of PUE. As a result of the debate it generated, any reference to the PUE has been removed from the final version.

Although the committee shuffled the PUE to set the standard’s efficiency criteria, “Green Grid metrics are actually based on energy usage data rather than on design criteria calculations,” said Ron Jarnagin, chair of committee 90.4.

“We realized that the design calculations of Standard 90.4 would probably not match the energy usage data, so we rectify this approach. We believe we have recommended the requirements for the 90.4 standard based on a justifiable 80/20 rule where only lower performance systems will be affected, “he added.

With the launch of the new standard, data centers will no longer be covered under ASHRAE 90.1. The 90.4 standard will be continuously updated to keep pace with the evolution of technology in the data center segment.

“We have worked very hard to develop this standard in a way that does not slow innovation in the data center industry, but at the same time offers criteria to help ensure energy savings,” said Jarnagin. “It’s important to keep in mind that data centers are mission-critical facilities where risk management is the primary concern,” he added.


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