Date(s) - 02/17/2022
4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

View Eric Masanet’s presentation here.

Please join us for a UW Data Science Seminar event on Thursday, February 17th from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. The seminar will feature Eric Masanet, Professor and Mellichamp Chair in Sustainability Science for Emerging Technologies at the UC Santa Barbara Bren School of Environmental Science & Management.


“Data center energy use: Knowns, unknowns, and how estimates are made”

Abstract: The energy use of data centers is a topic that gets much attention, and estimates of its scale and projected growth have often triggered sustainability concerns.  Despite the importance of data centers to nearly every aspect of modern life, there are surprisingly few reported data on their actual energy use.  As a result, the energy analysis community must develop estimates using a variety of methods, which have historically led to a wide variance in the published results that shape public and policymaker perceptions about the sector.  This presentation will provide a review of data center energy use drivers, what the analyst community knows and doesn’t know about data center energy use, and opportunities for improving the accuracy of estimates moving forward.

Biography: Eric Masanet holds the Duncan and Suzanne Mellichamp Chair in Sustainability Science for Emerging Technologies at UCSB. His research develops energy and materials systems models to identify technology and policy pathways for decarbonizing industrial systems. From 2015-2017, he led the Energy Demand Technology Unit at the International Energy Agency in Paris, where he oversaw energy analyses of the global industrial, transport, and buildings sectors. He is currently a Lead Author of Chapter 5 (Demand) for Working Group III of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report and a member of the Research Advisory Board at the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE). He is also the former Editor in Chief of Resources, Conservation, and Recycling, the leading peer-reviewed journal on sustainable resource systems.

From 2012 -2019 he was an Associate Professor in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University. From 2004-2012 he was a Research/Staff Scientist and Deputy Head in International Energy Studies Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. While at LBNL he held a joint research appointment in UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering, where he also served as Program Manager for the Engineering and Business for Sustainability Certificate Program. He holds a PhD in mechanical engineering with an emphasis in sustainable manufacturing from UC Berkeley.

This talk is co-sponsored by the Environmental Impacts of Data Science Special Interest Group at the eScience Institute, and the Responsibility in AI Systems & Experiences (RAISE) group at UW.


The UW Data Science Seminar is an annual lecture series at the University of Washington that hosts scholars working across applied areas of data science, such as the sciences, engineering, humanities and arts along with methodological areas in data science, such as computer science, applied math and statistics. Our presenters come from all domain fields and include occasional external speakers from regional partners, governmental agencies and industry.

The 2021-2022 seminars will be virtual events, and are free and open to the public.