carbon usage effectiveness (CUE)

Carbon usage effectiveness (CUE) is a metric developed by The Green Grid to help organizations measure the amount of carbon used -- or carbon footprint -- in the daily operations of their data centers.

Carbon usage effectiveness (CUE) is a metric for measuring the carbon gas a data center emits on a daily basis. The metric was developed by the non-profit consortium, The Green Grid.

In the United States, data center administrators can approach carbon measurement by reading their electrical meters and multiplying that number by their local carbon factor, which the data center's power compnt can supply. Larger data center managers can calculate CUE by dividing the total carbon dioxide emission equivalents (CO2eq) of the facility's energy consumption by the total IT energy consumption. The output is measured in kilograms of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour. The perfect CUE score is 0.0, meaning that no carbon use is associated with the data center’s operations.

The rising cost of energy, in addition to environmental concerns, has inspired organizations to seek ways to lower their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and carbon gas emissions in particular. In addition to helping an organization make informed decisions about changes that affect global warming, knowing the carbon usage effectiveness metric can help an organization qualify for green computing financial incentives in some industries.

See also: power usage effectiveness (PUE), water usage effectiveness (WUE), carbon footprint, carbon offset, carbon neutral

This was first published in August 2013

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