Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Wednesday, August 17, 2022

EDE, Recycling, and a Discussion of TGG Metrics 

TGG hopes to build up a new metric called Electronics Disposal Efficiency, or EDE, that measures how well companies and institutions recycle, or dispose of, their EOCU or EOL (End of current use and end of life, respectively) IT machines. The need for new metrics to gain acceptance and usage in the green technology community is apparent as a few feel the PUE competition has gotten a little out of hand.

The Green Grid Forum happened last week, and out of it came whitepaper after whitepaper on various data center case studies, metric evaluations, and so on. Green Computing Report will feature its top (or favorite) eight next Monday. One in particular, however, deserves special mention for its potential down the road.

TGG hopes to build up a new metric called Electronics Disposal Efficiency, or EDE, that measures how well companies and institutions recycle, or dispose of, their EOCU or EOL (End of current use and end of life, respectively) IT machines. The need for new metrics to gain acceptance and usage in the green technology community is apparent as a few feel the PUE competition has gotten a little out of hand.

Clemens Pfeiffer, CTO of Power Assure, discussed recently in a conversation with GCR (to be featured here tomorrow) how too much of the green computing moment is focused on PUE and PUE only. “Management doesn’t like it when PUE goes up,” is a common refrain from those looking to bask their names in a green light.

The thing about PUE is when it was introduced several years ago by The Green Grid, they stated that the metric was not intended for comparison’s or competition’s sake. Likewise, TGG discourages EDE to be used in such a way. In one sense, of course, such a competitive spirit is healthy. Data centers that announce sub-1.1 PUE’s catch some of the idea. But, as Pfeiffer noted, oftentimes those reports are misleading as facilities attempt to take advantage of a metric.

“The purpose is to improve efficiency, not manipulate a metric,” noted a recent TGG whitepaper that updated the proper methods of evaluating and determining PUE.

TGG offers the same disclaimer in their recent whitepaper that describes and introduced EDE. The metric itself is, like PUE, fairly simple to understand. EDE is measured by taking the amount of IT equipment disposed of responsibly and dividing by the amount of equipment disposed of overall.

The biggest challenge is determining the definition of ‘responsibly.’ According to TGG, that means “Equipment management processes should seek to maximize the recovery of usable components, materials, and energy before resorting to final disposal and do it in a way that prevents impacts to the environment and human health.”

That in itself can be vague, but the whitepaper goes on to mention third parties that are qualified for responsible breakdown and disposal.

Again, the adoption of this metric is meant to quell potential environmental disasters, such as the dumping of potentially hazardous equipment in India and Pakistan, not to foster manipulation in competition.

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