Data center facilities frequently consume more than 100 times the amount of electricity as a commercial office space due to their specialized function of housing high-energy IT equipment and operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With such high electricity consumption, effective energy conservation measures in data centers can significantly reduce energy consumption utility costs.
Data center energy consumption is receiving a lot of attention as the industry grows. Operating data centers can be expensive if the power infrastructure is poorly designed or outdated.
The following are some of the most innovative ways data centers can improve energy efficiency while drastically lowering operating costs.
1. Information Technology (IT) – use power-efficient networking hardware i.e. low-power solutions
Consolidate lightly-used servers
Most servers aren’t running anywhere near capacity – consolidate and remove unneeded hardware.
Removing a single server can save you money in energy, operating system licenses, and hardware maintenance.
Implement efficient data storage measures
A variety of tools and technologies are available to help reduce the amount of data you store, and to store what you need more effectively.
Ex: Deduplication software can reduce the amount of data stored at many organizations by more than 95%.
Utilize built-in server power management features
Modern servers come with features that can save energy, but they must be activated.
Ex: Server processors can reduce power consumption during times of low utilization.
2. Power Infrastructure – reduce losses from power distribution units and uninterruptible power supplies
Reduce energy losses from power distribution units (PDUs)
Look for more efficient PDUs and “smart” PDUs that monitor power usage.
High efficiency PDUs are 2 to 3 percent more efficient than conventional units.
Reduce energy losses from uninterruptable power supply (UPS) systems
Energy-efficient UPS systems minimize electrical losses and may feature an “eco-mode.”
Running UPS systems in eco-mode can reduce data center energy costs by as much as 2%.
3. Airflow Management – improve cooling by preventing hot and cold air from mixing
Manage airflow for cooling efficiency
Data centers with raised floors can easily suffer from uncontrolled air leakage that results in disproportionate quantities of cool air reaching the IT equipment.
Energy efficient data centers must seal the raised floors properly and remove unnecessary blockages placed under the floors.
Move to a hot/cold aisle layout
Rows of server racks should be oriented so that the fronts of servers face each other.
Backs of server racks should also face each other as well, forming hot (exhaust) and cold aisles.
When used in combination with containment, DOE estimates reduction in fan energy use of 20% to 25%.
Curtains or Plexiglas panels can keep cold air from mixing with hot air exhausted from the backs of servers, reducing overall cooling costs.
In data centers with hot/cold aisle arrangements, containment systems can reduce energy expense by 5% to 10%.
4. HVAC – optimizing cooling and humidification systems
Install in-rack or in-row cooling
These systems bring cold air closer to (or directly to) servers.
Can use 3 times less energy in high-energy density server rack than conventional cooling systems.
Make humidification adjustments
IT equipment can tolerate wider ranges of humidity.
If you must add humidity, use energy-efficient technologies such as misters, foggers, and ultrasonic units.
Use sensors and controls to match cooling capacity & airflow with IT loads
Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) is the convergence of IT and building facilities functions so that energy, equipment, and floor space are used as efficiently as possible.
DCIM provides information to allow you to “right-size” the infrastructure and reduce energy costs by as much as 30 percent
5. Innovative tariffs – derive data center efficiency
Introduce green data center initiatives
Charging customers taxes that are tariffed based on the energy consumed.
Provide energy-efficiency awareness training
Energy efficiency is rarely part of an IT professional’s formal training.
Introduce basic energy efficiency concepts can drive a culture of awareness and accountability, ensuring better consumption behavior.
With the tools listed above, data centers can improve daily power efficiency, extend the life of IT equipment, and reduce daily costs to achieve higher margins while maintaining reliability. Significantly improve your IT energy by implementing one or more of these simple energy-saving initiatives in your data center.