Data Centers Are Not The Energy Hogs We Thought

Data centers ran 550 percent more applications in 2018 than they did in 2010, but they only used 6 percent more energy to do so, according to a paper published today in the journal Science.

Data centers accomplished that, according to lead author Eric Masanet of the University of California Santa Barbara, by improving energy efficiency.

Data Center

“The paper finds that the energy use of global data centers is lower than commonly thought, despite recent rapid growth in demand for data,” Masanet told me via email.

The study disputes recent predictions that data centers will cause rapid and unavoidable near-term growth in energy demand. According to Masanet and his co-authors—including Nuoa Lei from Northwestern University and Arman Shehabi of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory—that growth in energy demand may be avoidable.

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