Barriers to Data Center Energy Efficiency: The Roles of Organizational Behavior, Psychology, and Economics  

Education Type: 
Live Online
1.5 Hours
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM (EST)
0.2 CEU

As our country increasingly relies on information technology (IT), our data centers will need to increase their energy efficiency to stabilize their energy consumption. This webinar focuses on the non-technology barriers to energy efficiency investments and practices in data centers that are often overlooked. We will look beyond technology options that are available to data center owners and managers and consider the organizational, psychological, and economic drivers.

This webinar will provide a clear decision-making framework to data center owners and operators and highlight some challenges that currently exist. After identifying the barriers and explaining how they work within the larger framework, we will present some preliminary solutions for overcoming these challenges. We will also cover often overlooked small and medium data centers, which have their own distinct set of barriers and solutions. This webinar is presented by the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) sponsored Center of Expertise (COE) for Energy Efficiency in Data Centers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Specifically, the training provides:

  1. A framework to think about data center EE decision-making;
  2. Non-technology barriers to EE that are often overlooked; and
  3. Proposed solutions for overcoming those barriers.


Nichole 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.

Alex Newkirk, Research Associate, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory  

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 training, attendees will be able to identify::

  • Organizational, psychological, and economic drivers and barriers to EE in data centers;
  • Framework for understanding the role these barriers and drivers play in EE decision-making in data centers;
  • Proposed solutions for overcoming these barriers; and
  • Future research that is coming from the COE on this topic.
Federal Agencies and Facility Criteria: