Flexible, Scalable, Energy-Saving Options for Data Centers

Data Center Efficiency: 40% Improvement Through Best Practices

The Data Center Journal, August 4, 2015. Image credit: blickpixel

Indirect/direct evaporative cooling systems, which can harness cooler outside air to support indoor cooling, are proven to reduce power consumption compared with traditional air conditioning (including last-generation computer room air conditioning units, or CRACs). The system’s digital controls, when integrated with other building automation systems, can extend the savings even further.

“For the foreseeable future, HVAC purchasing decisions will be based on the ability to reduce energy consumption and costs,” said Per Brashers. Current best practices for energy efficiency in data centers include energy-saving HVAC technologies (for new or retrofitting cooling equipment) that provide the following:

  • High-performance air-handling efficiencies using direct-drive plenum fans with variable-frequency-drive (VFD) controls that reduce energy consumption when equipment is operating at part load, which is typically more than 95% of the time.
  • Refrigerant-free evaporative cooling technology, which is proven to reduce power usage by up to 70% compared with traditional air conditioning.
  • Direct digital controls that help monitor and adjust HVAC systems for comfort, costs and energy efficiency (including PUE). These controls should be accessible remotely 24/7 through a web interface, as well as locally via a new equipment- or wall-mounted digital dashboards

By employing best practices, such as those described here, a growing number of highly efficient data centers—particularly those of the bigger players, such as Amazon, Facebook and Google—that have taken energy-saving measures. But with three million data centers in the U.S., there is even greater opportunity to achieve energy efficiency and save on operating costs at the small- and midsize level—where scalable, plug-and-play HVAC can provide an affordable option for indirect/direct evaporative cooling—for retrofits, “build as you grow” modular data centers and new construction.

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