Barriers to Data Center Efficiency: Insights from Experts and Operators  

Education Type: 
Live Online
1.5 hours
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM (ET)
0.2 CEUs
Sponsored by: 

DOE Federal Energy Management Program - FEMP

As the level of information technology (IT) integration within our economic activities increases, so too will the demand for data centers (DC). The DC industry must either increase energy efficiency and sustainability practices, or it will significantly increase environmental impact. This webinar focuses on moving beyond a fixed framework of DC performance, instead developing a perspective of continuous improvement. This webinar will draw from insights from a series of DC expert and operator interviews conducted by the webinar instructors, with an emphasis on organizational and behavioral findings. In conclusion, this webinar will provide recommendations for overcoming barriers to energy efficiency, as well as strategies for establishing a process of continuous improvement within an organization. This webinar is presented by the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) sponsored Center of Expertise for Energy Efficiency in Data Centers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Specifically, the training provides: 1) Discussion of the importance of DC siting to energy use, water use, and operating costs, as well as discussion of some of the factors that influence site selection. 2) Discussion of the impacts of performance metrics on DC operations, organizational siloing, and how some facility performance indicators, energy and resiliency, are evolving. 3) Discussion of how talent attrition can decrease energy performance, as well as guidance around succession planning to mitigate these effects


Nicole Hanus, Ph.D., Project Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory  

Nicole Hanus is a project scientist in the Electricity Markets and Policy Department at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a co-lead of the Center of Expertise for Energy Efficiency in Data Centers. Nichole conducts research aimed at improving electricity grid resiliency and reliability, data center energy efficiency, and ESCO business models. Her work is informed by her background in mechanical engineering, behavioral decision sciences, and public policy. Prior to joining the lab, Nichole worked as an energy engineer at Sieben Energy Associates performing energy efficiency assessments of large commercial and industrial buildings in Chicago. She also gained experience as a consultant at E3 in San Francisco, where she applied engineering and economics to study the implications of electrification and consumer adoption of distributed energy resources. Nichole holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in engineering and public policy from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Dayton.

Christopher Payne, Research Scientist & Department Head, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory  

Over his career in energy efficiency and sustainability policy research, Christopher Payne has focused on understanding how decisions related to energy consumption are made, how public policy shapes those decisions, and how energy policy can be made more efficient, effective, and persistent. Dr. Payne is a recognized expert in organizational decision-making related to energy and sustainability, with a research specialty in institutional acquisition processes and their role in clean energy technology adoption.

Alex Newkirk, Research Associate, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)  

Alex Newkirk is a research associate in the Building Technology and Urban Systems Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Alex researches the diffusion of innovation, procurement of emerging technologies, and organizational behavior. He received a B.S. in physics from Carleton College, and tries to bring an interdisciplinary approach to his work. Prior to joining the lab, Alex was an energy innovation policy consultant for IHS Markit, providing international innovation case study comparisons and analyzing the role of incubators and accelerators in the domestic innovation ecosystem.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, attendees will be able to:

  • Recognize the impact of data center site selection
  • Identify the negative impacts of talent attrition, and the importance of developing skills for succession planning
  • Identify data center performance metrics, with examples of evolving industry relationships to network resiliency and energy use
  • Recognize the influence of vendors on data center procurement practices and their potential as partners in decarbonization and efficiency
  • Identify how to develop a process for continuous improvement
Federal Agencies and Facility Criteria: 
Building Types: