Nerval's Lobster writes "Despite the growing list of innovative (and sometimes expensive) adaptations designed to transform datacenters into slightly-less-active power gluttons, the most effective way to make datacenters more efficient is also the most obvious, according to researchers from Stanford, Berkeley and Northwestern. Using power-efficient hardware, turning power down (or off) when the systems aren't running at high loads, and making sure air-cooling systems are pointed at hot IT equipment—rather than in a random direction—can all do far more than fancier methods for cutting datacenter power, according to Jonathan Koomey, a Stanford researcher who has been instrumental in making power use a hot topic in IT. Many of the most-publicized advances in building "green" datacenters during the past five years have focused on efforts to buy datacenter power from sources that also have very low carbon footprints. But "green" energy buying didn't match the impact of two very basic, obvious things: the overall energy efficiency of the individual pieces of hardware installed in a datacenter, and the level of efficiency with which those systems were configured and managed, Koomey explained in a blog published in conjunction with his and his co-authors' paper on the subject in Nature Climate Change . (The full paper is behind a paywall but Koomey offered to distribute copies free to those contacting him via his personal blog.)"