How Do Data Centers Minimize Their Energy Use?
Due to their specific ability to house energy-intensive IT equipment and operate 24/7, data center facilities often consume more than 100 times more electricity than similarly sized commercial office spaces. To do. Due to this high power consumption, implementing effective energy conservation measures in data centers can significantly reduce energy consumption and associated operating costs. A thorough and detailed analysis of all energy savings opportunities is required to minimize the total cost of ownership of the data center.
Improving data center energy efficiency requires establishing a baseline for current energy efficiency and comparing it to future performance. Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) is a metric initially developed by The Green Grid to provide an industry-accepted measure of data center efficiency. To determine PUE, the facility manager divides the total energy consumption of the data center by the energy consumption of his IT equipment.
Direct monitoring/measurement of current and voltage at various critical points in the data center provides the data used to calculate PUE. PUE values should be calculated periodically because the total power consumption of IT equipment and facilities depends on the power requirements of the IT equipment and the cooling load due to local weather conditions. PUE values can then be aggregated to measure a data center's "average" energy performance over a defined period. Changes in energy efficiency can then be tracked to monitor the impact of energy conservation measures taken.
Opportunities in existing data centers
While industry guidelines and standards identify how energy conservation measures should be implemented in newly constructed or planned data centers, operators of legacy data centers wonder what steps they can take to increase the energy efficiency of their facilities. Can it be done? The list is not exhaustive, but the following possibilities should be considered.
1. Install equipment to monitor energy consumption
Traditional data centers may lack the robust power consumption monitoring tools and sensors required to comply with ASHRAE standards and collect measurements to calculate the PUE of the data center. Installing energy monitoring components and systems to measure the energy efficiency of your data center is essential to the effective implementation of all other energy conservation measures.
2. Optimize supply air temperature
Adjust (increase) HVAC intake air temperature to provide an IT equipment environment consistent with the upper end of the recommended temperature range specified in the ASHRAE thermal guidance for computing environments. Higher supply air temperatures improve compressor efficiency when DX units are used for cooling and chiller plant efficiency when chilled water air conditioning units are used for cooling.
3. Adjust CRAC controls
Standalone computer room air conditioners (CRAC) used in older data centers have separate controls and setpoints that "compete" with each other for temperature and humidity regulation, causing the units to overwork. is often Extending the deadband of temperature and humidity settings reduces the tendency of these devices to behave in this way. More advanced control scenarios can be considered to achieve further energy savings.
4. Separate hold and cold air
Create a hot-aisle/cold-aisle layout for your IT equipment to maximize the flow of cool air to the equipment intakes and the maximum removal of warm exhaust air from the equipment racks. To prevent the mixing of hot and cold air, you can create hot or cold aisles by adding partitions or ceilings.
5. Improve underbody air pressure management
For data centers with raised floor plenums, ensuring that the raised floor system is properly sealed and eliminating unnecessary subfloor blockages can improve energy efficiency. Uncontrolled air leaks from raised floors can result in insufficient cooling air reaching IT equipment. Clogs or obstructions in the underbody can also prevent proper cooling air from flowing to your device. These conditions require higher HVAC supply air temperatures and additional fan power to handle the equipment cooling load.
6. Improve the efficiency of CRAC units
Improvements to the energy efficiency of CRAC units, such as the use of variable speed control of the supply air fan and the use of electronically commutated (EC) motors, are standard features of new CRAC units. You can save energy by retrofitting existing CRAC units or replacing older CRAC units with these features.
7. Improve transformer efficiency
Data center facilities with older power distribution components nearing the end of their expected useful life can realize cost-effective energy savings by replacing existing standard-efficiency electrical transformers with high-efficiency transformers. In addition to reducing internal electrical losses, highly efficient transformers produce less waste heat that must be mechanically cooled. During replacement, reconfiguring the facility's distribution system to require as few transformers as possible also save energy.
8. Improve lighting efficiency
Significant energy savings can be achieved by replacing or retrofitting with LED lighting in facilities that are currently lit with fluorescent lighting. Installing improved lighting controls, such as occupancy/motion sensors, or additional manual controls to turn off lights when unoccupied can also be cost-effective energy-saving measures.
Traditional data center operators can reduce their facility's total cost of ownership by incorporating these energy-saving options. The projected savings and costs of each opportunity should be carefully evaluated to determine which actions are most cost-effective, and financial resources should be allocated accordingly. As with all retrofit projects, flexibility must be considered to accommodate future changes in technology and operating conditions.
Data Centers Use A lot of Energy!
As energy-efficient data center design and operating standards continue to evolve rapidly in the industry, traditional data center operators need guidance on best practices to consider in order to maximize the energy efficiency of their facilities.
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