Optimizing Data Storage Facilities


The processing and storage of digital data has environmental impacts. Data processing and storage facilities are one of the most energy-intensive building types and often have large back-up generators that require air permits. There are often additional challenges to sustainable waste handling for data facilities due to data security needs. The Colorado Small Business Assistance Program is working to raise awareness and establish best practices for the industry to reduce their environmental footprint.


Small Business Assistance Program 

Server room

Any data processing and/or storage facility that uses emergency generators, process boilers, and/or cooling towers may be subject to air pollutant reporting and permitting depending on annual air emissions. 

Note: Cooling Tower Emissions are reported on the General APEN Form

Data centers are one of the most energy-intensive building types, consuming 10 to 50 times more energy per square foot than a typical office building. Small data centers are especially important because they house half of all servers and often lack the resources to assess, identify, and implement energy efficiency strategies. 

Colorado Guidance on Energy Efficiency for Data Centers 

Xcel Energy's Data Center Efficiency Program 

  • Offers low-cost in-depth energy audits and equipment rebates

Additional Federal Resources: 

Energy Efficiency Best Practices 

  • Best management practices for reducing energy use. 

Energy Benchmarking Tool for Data Facilities

  • Helps diagnose how energy use is distributed in the data center and determine ways to save energy and money

Energy STAR for data centers 

  • Assessment of the energy performance of a property relative to its peers, taking into account the climate, weather, and business activities at the property.

Federal Energy Management Program for Data Centers 

Storage Networking Industry Association

  • Non-profit organization that facilitates the efficient management, movement, and security of information