Energy Use & Climate Change


EMC’s global carbon footprint expands far beyond the technologies and resources needed to create our products—the biggest environmental impacts occur as a result of the energy consumed during product use.

We work continuously to generate savings for our customers and to help them reduce their environmental impact by improving the energy efficiency of our products. These improvements, which apply to both hardware and software products, include delivering industry-leading functionality to manage demand, driving increased efficiency, and tightly integrating our products within the data center.

To learn more about how data center efficiencies come to life at EMC, visit Efficient Data Centers.


We employ tools and processes to measure and improve the sustainability of our products, including a Design for Environment (DfE) process that allows us to leverage current product development to help inform future sustainability practices. This process starts with our designers and architects who gain insights into sustainable product design by using proxy indication systems that are embedded into their design tools. As the process continues, our engineers consult development checklists to ensure products adhere to our corporate standards and best practices. During the final stage, when products become ready for general release, we conduct lifecycle analyses on representative product configurations to inform future efforts.

Moving forward, we will continue to focus on the following areas:

  • Increasing the energy efficiency of our products
  • Developing products that foster significant improvements in PUE
  • Implementing standards that help measure and define areas for energy-efficient operations of information technology (IT) equipment
  • Working with suppliers to reduce impacts of manufacturing disk drives
  • Investigating less carbon-intensive options for transport of products and components
  • Working to minimize transportation of cabinets and other high-volume, heavy components
  • Exploring lightweighting techniques
  • Reducing material impacts by informing design decisions
  • Developing environmentally friendly printed circuit board materials
  • Improving packaging efficiency without compromising efficacy
  • Maximizing recovery and recycling of products at end of use

In 2012, we further evolved DfE through an annual review and update of the guidelines and increased employee communications regarding the importance of engraining DfE approaches into our daily work. We also hosted our first-ever Sustainability Summit, an annual half-day event that convened more than 40 employees from engineering, supply chain, manufacturing, and other groups to provide an overview of sustainability at EMC and the role of DfE in developing more sustainable products. The Summit featured presentations from EMC product developers and third-party recycling vendors, and offered hands-on exercises including a chassis disassembly that demonstrated the DfE process for attendees.

To learn more about DfE and innovation, visit Product Material Content and Innovation Network.

ENERGY STAR® Specifications and Review

Part of EMC’s forward-looking strategy to develop energy efficient products is staying abreast of evolving industry guidelines and best practices. This foresight helps us prepare and plan ahead when new or revised policies take effect and, in some cases, provide input during public commenting periods where allowed.

In 2012, EMC played a role in the next iteration of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR for Data Center Storage requirements and chaired the Green Grid’s “ENERGY STAR for Storage Task Force.” In addition, EMC participated in a workshop with other IT companies, Information Technology Industry Council (ITIC), and the EPA to explore the future direction of the program and led one of the investigation tracks.

On an organizational level, EMC’s Energy, Efficiency, and Effectiveness (E3) team—a voluntary group of employees from product groups across EMC that shares information and ideas about EMC’s technology efficiency initiatives—reviewed proposed changes to ENERGY STAR® requirements and provided a consolidated response with recommendations for the EPA to consider.


EMC offers a variety of disk drives to meet varying needs of capacity, performance, and cost—each with its own set of characteristics to consider when pursuing energy efficiency. For example, high-capacity SATA drives use less power but have slower performance. In contrast, lower capacity FC/SAS drives use more energy but have a higher performance. In addition, there are several efficiencies that can be achieved with using disk drives in tandem with other technologies.

We were the first in the industry to use Flash, or solid state, drives in enterprise storage systems. Enterprise Flash drives offer energy efficiency in high-performance computing, using up to 97.7 percent less energy per IOP (operations per second) than FC/SAS drives, and up to 38 percent less energy per terabyte of data stored. The energy savings come from their solid state nature—they do not spin like conventional disk drives—and from the potential to reduce the total number of drives required across an entire system to achieve stringent performance targets. EMC® Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST™) technology can leverage the more efficient enterprise drives at the highest tier and the more efficient ATA drives at the lowest tier to achieve both greater efficiency and greater performance across the spectrum of service levels.


Beyond drives, there are three other key initiatives for reducing power use in our storage platforms:

  1. Using more efficient power supplies to reduce energy loss as power is delivered to the storage platform. The use of high-efficiency power supplies reduces total equipment power and minimizes the generation of waste heat. This can yield significant savings in the facility cooling and power distribution infrastructure. Power supplies in our current USD and ESD products have achieved a “Gold” rating against the 80 PLUS benchmark.
  2. Embedding instrumentation and utilizing effective tools to monitor and report power use and ambient temperature.
  3. Embracing adaptive cooling technology to save energy by dynamically adjusting fan speeds in the storage platform. Our adaptive cooling technology continuously samples the external environment and adjusts its operation to minimize power consumption while maintaining reliability.
  4. To learn more about efficient power and cooling in EMC products, visit EMC VNX® Series on