Carbon Usage Effectiveness

Carbon Usage Effectiveness (CUE) is a metric used to evaluate the energy efficiency and environmental impact of data centers. It measures the amount of carbon emissions produced per unit of computing work performed in a data center. CUE is an extension of the Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) metric, which measures the energy efficiency of a data center.

The concept of CUE recognizes that not all energy sources used by data centers have the same carbon footprint. Some energy sources, such as fossil fuels, have a higher carbon intensity and contribute more to greenhouse gas emissions compared to cleaner sources like renewable energy.

Calculating CUE

CUE is calculated by dividing the total carbon emissions from all sources associated with a data center (including the emissions from electricity generation) by the amount of computing work performed in the data center. The computing work is typically measured in terms of the data center’s IT load or the number of computations performed.

Carbon dioxide emission equivalents caused by data center energy use (CO2eq) ÷ IT equipment energy usage (kWh)

A lower CUE value indicates a more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly data center, as it means less carbon emissions are produced per u


nit of computing work. Data center operators strive to reduce their CUE by adopting energy-efficient technologies, optimizing cooling systems, implementing renewable energy sources, and improving overall operational efficiency.

It’s worth noting that while CUE is a useful metric for evaluating the environmental impact of data centers, it is just one aspect of sustainability. Other factors such as water usage, electronic waste management, and overall lifecycle assessment should also be considered to have a comprehensive understanding of a data center’s environmental footprint.

Komprise has written about the opportunity for sustainable data management as part of an overall sustainability and data center emission, data center optimization and data center consolidation strategy.

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