Find out the minimum energy-efficiency requirements for data centers here

by Brianna Crandall — December 20, 2019 — Global sustainable building technology society ASHRAE has just released a revised version of its energy standard for data centers.

ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 90.4-2019, Energy Standard for Data Centers, establishes the minimum energy-efficiency requirements of data centers for design, construction, and operation and maintenance, as well as the use of on-site or off-site renewable energy resources, with special consideration to their unique load requirements compared to other buildings.

Standard 90.4 applies to data centers with a conditioned floor area greater than 20 W/ft2 and information technology (IT) equipment loads greater than 10 kW, and contains specific requirements for mechanical and electrical systems installed in new data centers or in data center additions/alterations that require new mechanical or electrical systems.

Richard Zbin, chair of the Standard 90.4 committee, remarked:

Standard 90.4 was developed under the guiding principle that data centers are mission-critical facilities that demand careful attention to the potential impact of requirements. The updated standard enables operators and designers to use the latest and most effective equipment and techniques to achieve energy efficiency in data centers, while avoiding potential reliability issues.


Renumbered sections and revised wording align more closely with that of Standard 90.1, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings.

Mechanical efficiency requirements are based entirely on yearly energy calculations and no longer include a power calculation option. Included table values are also aligned with the newest ASHRAE Climate Zones.

Significant improvements are made to uninterruptible power supply (UPS) technology. Mechanical and electrical infrastructure elements are addressed. Updated UPS segment tables reflect available electrical distribution hardware, and average outputs are also included.

Standard 90.4 has been in a continuous state of development as a code-intended companion to Standard 90.1 since 2013. The standard requires compliance with Standard 90.1 for building envelope, service water heating, lighting, and other equipment.

To purchase Standard 90.4, visit the ASHRAE Bookstore. Founded in 1894, ASHRAE is a global professional society committed to serve humanity by advancing the arts and sciences of heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC/R) and their allied fields through research, standards writing, publishing, certification and continuing education.