Nearly 40 percent of a data centre’s energy use is consumed by cooling systems. With such a large portion of electricity use dedicated to cooling, green data centres cannot afford to waste energy. Improving the efficiency of the facility’s cooling systems presents a great opportunity. By implementing the following strategies, a data centre can make efficiency improvements and cut operating costs.
Sealing the Space
Many facilities suffer from cooling loss, which is essentially wasted energy. Losses can occur via ceilings, floors, walls, windows, and doors. The more cooling energy lost from the building, the more energy which must be consumed to replace it. Lost points also allow humidity to increase in the facility, which can increase energy use as well as damage valuable equipment. Vapor seals can reduce the amount of cooling loss and humidity gain in a green data centre. It can provide greater control over the indoor environment, helping the data center conserve cooling energy and maintain proper humidity levels. Greater humidity control will reduce the facility’s energy expenditure on humidification and dehumidification equipment.
The arrangement of a space can enhance or restrict airflow throughout a green data centre. The layout of the rooms as well as location and arrangement of equipment, racks, and cables should be evaluated and modified to improve airflow throughout the facility. Optimal air movement will allow a facility to utilize less energy to move excess heat away from equipment. Instead of allowing hot and cold air to mix, position equipment to create hot aisles and cold aisles; this approach will improve the efficiency of computer room precision air conditioners (CRACs) which are in use.
Utilize free cooling to cut back the costs of electricity used by mechanical cooling systems. Economizers facilitate the use of outside air for indoor cooling needs and is ideal for use during colder months. The use of economizers in green data centre environments has been shown to reduce heating and cooling Energy Use Intensity (EUI), lowering it up to 13 percent compared to facilities without economizers.
Cool at the Heat Source
A central mechanical cooling system may be located far away from the data centre equipment producing heat, requiring more energy to move cool air to the heat source. Supplemental cooling systems can be utilized to bring cooling to the heat source and cut back energy consumed by moving air throughout the facility. Using direct cooling modules placed above or alongside racks can improve cooling efficiency for high-density racks.