ETA Contributes to Energy Standards for Computer Servers

September 22, 2017

The Energy Technology Areas' Industrial Applications team recently contributed to the development of NSF 426, an international standard for environmental leadership in the design and manufacture of computer servers. It includes criteria for certification to ISO5001, which supports market-driven adoption of energy management best practices in manufacturing supply chains.

Server Farm Waste HeatOn Friday, Sept. 8, NSF International published NSF 426-2017, an international standard for environmental leadership and corporate social responsibility in the design and manufacture of computer servers. The Standard defines the criteria for environmental performance throughout the product life-cycle, relating to energy efficiency; management of substances; preferable materials use; product packaging; design for repair, reuse and recycling; product longevity; responsible end-of-life management; and corporate responsibility. NSF 426 is the first published product sustainability standard to include criteria for certification to the ISO 50001 global standard for energy management.

The ISO 50001 Energy Management standard follows the Plan-Do-Check-Act framework to reduce cost and risk associated with energy operations by establishing a culture of continuous energy improvement. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has played a critical role in the development and adoption of ISO 50001; since the standard's publication in 2011, DOE's Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) has managed the Superior Energy Performance (SEP) program to provide federal recognition to facilities that demonstrate third-party-verified energy savings on top of ISO 50001 certification. To date, nearly fifty North American facilities have been certified to SEP, and over 12,000 global facilities to ISO 50001.

In support of its mission to catalyze energy productivity in U.S. manufacturing and related supply chains, DOE has recognized the importance of its participation in developing product sustainability standards to incentivize continuous energy performance improvement along product manufacturing supply chains.

"We are collaborating hand-in-hand with the private sector through standards organizations, such as NSF International, to establish a global, market-driven demand for more responsible and productive manufacturing," states Paul Scheihing, program manager for SEP. "For many products, the life-cycle environmental and energy footprint associated with the manufacture of a product can be significant. Improving energy efficiency along product supply chains will make a notable difference to overall productivity and to the environment."

With industry and U.S. Government leadership, NSF 426 is the first product sustainability standard to include optional criteria for computer server supply chain facilities to achieve points for energy management certification to ISO 50001, SEP, or a nationally equivalent program such as Korea's "KSEP" program. Achieving these points will contribute to server manufacturers' competitiveness as sources of environmentally-preferred products for public- and private-sector buyers.

U.S. Government contributions to NSF 426 include representatives from AMO, DOE's Office of Sustainable Environmental Stewardship, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the U.S. General Services Administration.

Visit to find out more about ISO 50001, SEP, and DOE's efforts in continuous energy improvement, including its 50001 Ready recognition program for self-attested adopters of energy management best practices.