The U.S. Department of Energy announced $25 million in funding on Friday for a new program to promote energy efficiency in data centers.
The new ENergy-efficient Light-wave Integrated Technology Enabling Networks that Enhance Datacenters (ENLITENED) program, from the Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), seeks to double datacenter energy efficiency, according the announcement.
The ENLITENED program will focus on the metal interconnects currently used to transmit information between devices in a datacenter.
More and more large data centers run around the clock, constantly using resources. A recent DOE estimate found datacenters consumed enough electricity to power every household in New York City twice over, and that is projected to double in about eight years.
"ENLITENED seeks to overcome the limitations of these interconnects and to prioritize overall datacenter energy efficiency," according to the announcement. "To achieve this, high density, energy-efficient photonic interconnects and related switching or connecting technologies, will be used to develop transformational efficiency improvements."
ARPA-E said if they are able to meet their goals, the new technologies will double datacenter energy efficiency.
In March, the White House released a new Data Center Optimization Initiative that requires federal government agencies to get approval from the federal CIO before building new data centers or expanding existing ones. Any new data center projects will have to meet strict energy saving parameters in order to gain approval.
Sustainable data centers are a growing concern for private tech companies as well. In February, Facebook announced a new datacenter in Ireland that will focus on energy efficiency, including server and storage hardware from the Open Compute Project, which is designed to improve performance while reducing power needs. Meanwhile, Microsoft announced it was bringing on a Director for Datacenter Sustainability, a newly created role designed to focus on making Microsoft's growing network of data centers more sustainable with a decreased environmental impact.