The Green Grid, the industry consortium which developed PUE and other data center efficiency standards, has become part of lobbying group the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), prompting a reorganization affecting its regional arms.

The organization's Chinese chapter has become The Green Gauge China, a separate local non-profit, with government support. Other chapters are understood to be considering a similar move, though the group is maintaining a European presence. The move happened in April, but has not been widely publicized.

Greengrid and ITI logo.jpg
– The Green Grid / ITI / DCD

Going off-grid

"The Green Grid became an affiliate member of ITI on April 1, 2019," said a Green Grid spokesperson. "Prior to this acquisition, The Green Grid and TGG China signed a mutual termination agreement, which dissolved a pre-existing licensing agreement between the two separate entities."

Founded in 2007, The Green Grid steered early work on data center efficiency, which was then emerging as an urgent task for governments to address, after an EPA report to the US Government in 2007 noted that energy use in data centers had doubled since 2000, and predicted it would double again by 2011 unless facilities became more efficient.

Later in 2007, The Green Grid began working with ITI, a group lobbying for government policy on behalf of all the big names of the industry. ITI is a much older group: it was founded in 1916 as the National Association of Office Appliance Manufacturers, and has moved with technology changes, it eventually adopted the ITI name in 1996. Despite calling itself the "global voice of the tech sector," it's more widely seen as a lobbying group, primarily based in the US, but with an office in Brussels and staff in Asia.

The Green Grid promoted and developed power usage effectiveness (PUE) standard as a measure of data center efficiency. PUE is the total power used by a data center, divided by the IT load: the best possible value would approach 1.0, but when The Green Grid started, most facilities scored far more than 2.0, which meant that half of all electricity consumed in data centers was "wasted."

PUE was accepted as a global standard by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 2016, and The Green Grid proposed other standards, to improve other aspects of efficiency, such as WUE for water, but the urgency went out of the move to increase efficiency.

A subsequent report in 2011 again predicted data center energy use would increase massively, but in 2016 a study from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory reported that disaster had been averted, largely because of measures to reduce PUE: “Technology advancements have made IT equipment more efficient by being able to perform more work on a given device, while other design and management efforts have made the industry more energy efficient,” it said.

China's TGG is producing further standards - it launched Infrastructure Usage Effectiveness (IUE) at DCD>Shanghai in July. It appears to have split from the Green Grid in order to guarantee a more international platform for its work.