Article Posted by GariRae Gray, Principal, Policy Office

Last week, the OCIO partnered with SMUD to present a day-long energy efficiency course for state IT professionals. The course was taught by a data center engineer from a private firm and a research engineer from Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. Forty-seven state staff attended, representing 17 departments. Our goal is to start a Center of Excellence group related to data center energy efficiency, and provide inter-departmental consultation to the "greening" of State’s data centers.

As our State CIO Teri Takai has mentioned in speeches, it has been estimated by the federal government that nearly two percent of all Greenhouse Gas Emissions stem from IT operations. That’s the equivalent of the entire aviation industry! Further, IT is the fastest growing sector of Green House Gas Emissions — some estimates put IT at double its energy consumption by 2020.

Our Center of Excellence group will be focused on how to meet the growing IT needs of state agencies and do so within the current power capacities of our data centers. In addition, per AB 32, the state is responsible to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from its own operations, and there are numerous opportunities to do so within the data center arena.

The OCIO arranged the course to target specific professionals: data center managers, system developers, facility managers, and Department of General Services mechanical and electrical engineers. This multi-disciplinary group was selected in order to provide the State with professional resources who have a deeper understanding of data center environmental management and energy efficiency technologies. In addition, the discipline mix will enhance the collaboration between IT and facility management in assessing and implementing data center technologies.

Our learning session was just the start of a major effort to be led by the OCIO to reduce energy consumption by the state’s computer systems.