Another day, another efficiency metric?
The Green Grid, which helped popularize metrics for minimizing wasted electricity in data centers, has developed a new method for cutting down on wasted electronics as old servers and other equipment reach their inevitable retirement.
The Electronics Disposal Efficiency metric is designed to help minimize electronic waste, specifically servers and other enterprise hardware. It will take a cue from other organizations, including the Solving the E-waste Problem (StEP) Initiative. The Green Grid is trying to build on established regulations that govern the disposal of consumer electronics such as televisions, including the rules governing Waste Electronics and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) within the EU.
The Green Grid is a global consortium of companies, government agencies, educational institutions and individuals dedicated to advancing resource efficiency in information technology and data centers with a holistic approach, including all IT, facility and infrastructure systems. It does not prescribe vendor-specific approaches or solutions. The organization developed the now-common PUE (power usage effectiveness) standard, generally used to assess data centers’ energy efficiency.
The Green Grid will formally present the EDE on March 6.
Statements made during the Green Grid Forum in 2012 hint at how the metric will work. “So this is what we finally decided on… take the total amount of material that you are decommissioning, that you are disposing of, and you determine from that material you’re disposing of what percentage of that material can you guarantee was handled in a responsible manner,” John Pflueger, a principal environmental strategist at Dell, said at the time.
As Pflueger noted, the EDE metric should be defined by calculating the percentage (based on unit or product weight) of decommissioned IT EEE at its EOCU (end-of-current-use) or EOL (end-of-life) that is disposed of through known responsible entities. The Green Grid intends the EDE metric as a way for organizations to measure their progress and improve over time, rather than act as a score to be compared with other entities.
“We do see this stuff as having value, and one of the premises behind the metric is that we don’t want this stuff go to waste, and have that value be set to nothing,” Pflueger said last year.
The metric isn’t concerned with whether equipment has been reused or recycled, or where it’s broken down into component parts. But Green Grid decided that recyclers need to be ISO 14001 certified, on top of being audited “to the end of the line”—presumably to ensure that materials were being recycled and not discarded somewhere along the recycling chain.
According to the organization, responsible disposal is defined as “effected to standards that ensure the lowest possible environmental impact and the highest possible recovery of embedded materials, in line with the notion of ‘resource.’”