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New Data Center Energy Certification takes center stage at Critical Facilities Summit

by Katie Baker, manager of direct response, Trade Press Media

Today’s data centers are energy-intensive. While opportunities exist to reduce energy use, significant knowledge, training and skills are required to perform energy assessments. For this reason, the data center industry and DOE partnered to develop the Data Center Energy Practitioner (DCEP) Program. On October 23, the Critical Facilities Summit kicks off with the DCEP certification course led by Julius Neudorfer, CTO of North American Access Technologies.

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Why the need for this certification?

Julius Neudorfer (JN): The DCEP training program was originally developed to help federal government data centers save energy, but the information is applicable for any data center. I have taught these classes to a mix of students who are federal employees, data center consultants, and professional engineers. I’ve seen the program build on the student’s existing skill-set, providing a more in-depth examination of the energy usage processes. For example, a hidden secret in data centers is that not everybody completely understands airflow management. People tend to locate and rack IT equipment simply based on power draw, not fully understanding the balance between the cooling units in the room and the interrelationship of matching IT airflow requirements. There are a lot of misnomers in the industry. The program provides clarification. There’s good science behind it. The course teaches you how to properly use the free DOE data center tools available to you. There’s a tremendous amount of emphasis placed on this.

Why should people become certified?

JN: Unlike other data center training offerings, the DCEP certificate is the only one issued under the US Department of Energy and the Federal Energy Management Program, in conjunction with a training program developed by Lawrence Berkley National Labs (LBNL). The DCEP certification is something you can use for federal facilities, and is a requirement for the Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) mandate. In addition, you can apply the processes and skills to help improve state and local government data center operators and commercial enterprises. The knowledge you gain is immediately useful. There are free software tools that provide multiple no cost and low cost recommendations. There’s a process in place to show the results from the program based on the positive results you can prove by how much energy you’re saving. Action and documented results. Show the improvement. That’s key.

You’ve been a presenter at CFS for several years. How would you describe the event?

JN: It’s a really good facilities show for people who are involved in the data center. The biggest problem with everyone’s day is that it’s overbooked before you even step in the door. You have a million things to get done. You don’t have the time to focus on new ideas. You’re probably just trying to meet project deadlines. When you go to a show, you become immersed. Your phone’s going to ring. You’re going to get a million emails. But, when you’re there taking a class, or checking out a vendor’s new product, listening to a presenter — that’s the time you need to set aside and focus on something you presumably haven’t had time to focus on. You’ll walk away with a fresh take and get a sense of what other people are doing. There’s a good chance your colleagues are going through what you’re experiencing. There’s an impact from being there that you won’t get by watching a webinar.

Email questions to Katie Baker.