From Green Right Now Reports

Data centers, those energy-consuming machinery hives that keep the Internet and so much else aloft, can now earn an Energy Star label.

To receive the Energy Star certification, a data center must rate in the top 25 percent of its class in terms of energy efficiency, according to the EPA, which announced the new designation this week.

While that criteria seems a little loose at the margins, the Energy Star program is clearly hoping it kicks off the competition among data centers (which count electricity as a key cost) by encouraging them to use Energy Star-rated servers and making sure their heating and cooling systems are optimized.

Data centers gobble up 1.5 percent of the total U.S. electricity consumption, costing $4.5 billion annually, according to the EPA. That amount is expected to double over the next five years.

The EPA believes the centers, responsible for data storage and Internet service, could accomplish big energy reductions by putting efficiency measures into place. A 10 percent improvement in energy efficiency could save more than 6 billion kilowatt hours every year or enough to power more than 350,000 homes, according to the EPA, which helps oversee the Energy Star program.

The Energy Star program posts tools online (powered by data centers!) for businesses that want to better manage their energy use.