The federal government has expanded the pool of data centers eligible for consolidation and now plans to close even more of the facilities than previously designated.

Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel said Thursday the government is no longer limiting its data center count to those centers measuring at least 500 square feet. Lifting that minimum has increased the number of centers for consideration for closing from less than 2,100 to nearly 2,800.

“I wanted to scope it so everything was game,” he said. “We should be looking for efficiencies from everything from wiring closets to these very large data centers.”

The consolidation effort is one element of a federal information technology reform effort launched by Vivek Kundra, VanRoekel’s predecessor who left this summer. Kundra’s strategy, released in a 25-point plan last year, focused on shifting agencies to cloud, or Web-based, computing, which he said would require less infrastructure.

VanRoekel said Thursday that the government is increasing the number of data centers it expects to close by the end of 2012 from 373, a number announced this summer, to 472.

By the end of 2015, the government had said it wanted to shutter 800 centers; VanRoekel said that number has surged to 962 and he expects it to grow.

Federal agencies will release updated plans on data center consolidation. A report set for release at the end of the year will name the specific data centers for closure, VanRoekel said.

The government expects its related cost savings to start fairly small but increase rapidly, he added. He estimates that the current planned closures through 2015 will save $630 million.

Closing the centers hasn’t meant layoffs for federal employees, he noted. Instead, he said, workers are being moved to “more high-value work.”

In July, the government said its plan to shut 178 data centers in 2012 would include 60 in the Washington area. It did not release specific locations for the expanded list on Thursday.