A new report from the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that data centers (or server farms)-which house hundreds or thousands of computers-greatly exaggerate their power requirements, in part due to overblown growth projections and a need to appear bigger and better than the competition.

Using a combination of measurements and calculations, the report found that data centers use at most 50 W/sq ft, including the energy needed for cooling the room. Using an estimate of the total square footage of data centers in the United States, the report said that, at most, the centers would require 475 MW of power and would consume just 0.12% of the electricity produced in the United States.