Data center facilities pro

Mar 12 2009   11:43PM GMT

Sorting through data center utility rebates

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

There’s a good chance that your utility company has an incentive program in place if you boost your data center energy efficiency. But sorting through the programs can be a hassle, and dealing with the back-and-forth with the utility company can as well.

In addition, said Adam Fairbanks, vice president of data center services for Bluestone Energy Services, data center managers have enough on their plate. They’re more concerned with keeping their facilities online, not looking for utility rebates.

Bluestone is a consulting firm that serves as a middleman between data centers and the utility company. It looks to get data centers utility rebates. By coming into the building and doing an audit, Bluestone can determine if there needs to be a more detailed technical assistance study, and then report on how much money you can save by implementing the utility rebate program.

Fairbanks said that utilities will usually pay for half of this assistance study, and in the end, the utility company itself sends the end user a letter detailing how much of a rebate the utility will give if you move forward with energy efficiency measures.

Data center utility rebate programs from Pacific Gas & Electric have made the most headlines in the data center world, but Fairbanks said utilities up and down the East Coast, in the Midwest and on the West Coast offer incentive programs. Not all of them are as specific as PG&E’s, which for example has one specifically for server virtualization projects. Most of them just give a rebate based on how much power you can prove you’ll save through an energy efficiency project.

Is hiring Bluestone or another consultant worth it? It could be by lessening your own headache, and if Bluestone can prove that the utility rebate will save you more than you have to pay Bluestone in the first place. Then again, if you have the in-house expertise and knowledge to do it yourself, go for it. Exploring your utility’s rebate programs is a great way to pick up some extra savings.

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