04 December, 2015

The Green Grid is a global consortium of leading multinational corporations within the information and communications technology (ICT) industry committed to sustainability and the efficient use of resources. Our mission to drive effective and accountable resource efficiency across the ICT ecosystem is based on technical and scientific efforts to make sustainability and the effective use of energy primary goals of all corporate and governmental programs.

On November 30, 2015, the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) commenced in Paris, France. The goal of this ambitious event is to craft a new international climate agreement.

The Green Grid is a leading voice of the ICT industry, with nearly 200 member companies spanning the global spectrum and geography of ICT goods and services. The Green Grid metrics and Data Center Maturity Model are industry-driven enablers to define goals and enable creative pathways for ICT and data center infrastructure to meet their productivity, reliability, and availability requirements while using the least possible resources.

On behalf of our member companies, we are publicizing our general support of the COP21 negotiations and our endorsement of the goal of continued improvement in the area of carbon reduction and improved resource efficiency.

Independent of objective, The Green Grid tools and metrics are a highly effective way to start benchmarking an organization’s resource efficiency and being able to track its activity.

We hope the following information about The Green Grid’s foundational tools will help businesses set meaningful goals and achieve relevant reductions.

The Green Grid Tools and Metrics to Meet Resource Efficiency and Sustainability Goals

The Green Grid’s efforts to encourage resource-efficient IT have focused on enhancing the return on data center investments through reduced operational costs, lower power and cooling, better server utilization, and improved use of IT infrastructures, incentives, siting, and software design. For member companies and other organizations utilizing The Green Grid’s tools and metrics, these efforts translate to a range of benefits that include:

  • Greater productivity per unit of energy consumed and per unit of water used
  • Reduced carbon footprints and accountability over the full lifecycle of equipment
  • Reduced costs for facilities and IT budgets
  • Mitigated operational and corporate risks
  • Enhanced corporate responsibility

In 2006, The Green Grid first began its drive for accountable, effective, resource-efficient end-to-end ICT ecosystems. Soon after, we published the Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) metric – one of our most high-profile tools.

PUE was designed as a “self-help” data center energy efficiency measurement tool to assist end-users boost energy efficiency in data center operations. This tool measures the relationship between the total facility energy consumed and the IT equipment energy consumed. PUE helps companies understand how well a data center is delivering energy to its IT equipment, as well as trends in an individual facility over time and the effects of different design and operational decisions within a specific facility.

PUE is now firmly established as the industry-preferred metric for measuring infrastructure energy efficiency in data centers. PUE is in the process of becoming an international standard under ISO/IEC.

The Green Grid followed the success of PUE by introducing both the Water Usage Effectiveness (WUE) and the Carbon Usage Effectiveness (CUE) metrics. WUE enables data center operators to quickly assess the water sustainability aspects of their data centers, compare the results, and determine if any design or operational improvements need to be made. CUE enables data center operators to quickly assess the carbon footprint of their data centers, compare the results, and determine if any energy sourcing improvements need to be made.

These and other tools and metrics of The Green Grid are very much aligned with the approaches and goals advocated for in COP21 talks. Most notably, many organizations have utilized these tools to achieve resource efficiency, resource intensity, and corporate responsibility goals.

The Bank of New York Mellon, for example, used PUE as the basis of an enterprise data center program that has since 2007 saved nearly 283 million kWh of electricity – for a total CO2-avoidance of 195,000 metric tons[1] and a total cost savings of more than $27 million.

The Green Grid believes that every company is capable of identifying and committing to clearly defined resource efficiency improvements. Such commitments start with measurement – for example, conducting an audit of a company’s data center installations. Recent market research conducted by The Green Grid in Europe showed that more than 50% of data center operators do not track their installations. Knowing what is installed is a key measure to enable organizations to set clear improvement goals.

Data center operators use this information to benchmark their current performance, determine their levels of maturity, and identify the ongoing steps and innovations needed to achieve greater energy efficiency and sustainability – today and into the future. The Green Grid believes that resource efficiency improvements should focus on every aspect of the data center, including power, cooling, compute, storage, and network. Companies should outline current practices and a five-year roadmap for improvement that includes, among others, the following:

  • Annual energy audit of data center facility
  • Implementation of new energy efficiency techniques
  • Improved applications for use and creation of data

The Green Grid encourages companies to measure, set a baseline, and seek to improve their environmental performance agenda based on this approach. This helps companies identify and communicate where they are today, as well as identify and articulate where they want to be in the future.

Organizations that have climate change goals have the opportunity to reference these tools from The Green Grid to consider what COP21 and other commitments they might make. In doing so, they will join the member companies of The Green Grid that have already taken the step of defining corporate commitments to specific goals relating to resource efficiency, resource intensity, and corporate responsibility in support of COP21.

The full list of the 154 companies from across the American economy who are joining the American Business Act on Climate Pledge, along with their respective commitments, can be viewed at

What Lies Ahead?

The Green Grid envisions a sustainable, interconnected society and economy, in which information technology is driving growth and productivity across industries. To ensure that future, we are working towards sustainability and energy efficiency performance.

The Green Grid and its member companies are focused on the next generation of solutions and are working to address the demands and impacts of data collection, storage, processing, and new workloads.

We hope you will join us in proactively addressing these important challenges.


[1] based on EPA Greenhouse Equivalents Calculator