Data centers have a voracious appetite for energy. Despite the trend toward cloud computing, legacy corporate data centers remain major power users. With the escalated energy prices the market is experiencing, data center stakeholders must act now to reduce consumption and protect their bottom line.
There are many types of equipment in a data center which contribute to their energy requirements. Data processing equipment, data storage, network infrastructure, physical and informational security equipment, and others that are specific to the industry. Building HVAC systems, lighting and back up equipment must also be considered. The complexity of the modern data center allows many opportunities to improve the efficiency of the whole operation.
Research showed that large amounts of energy were being used to keep IT equipment properly cooled. New energy efficient technology is becoming available that can significantly decrease the energy required to cool the equipment. Here are some examples:
- Underfloor air-distribution systems
- High efficiency chillers
- High efficiency cooling towers
- Closely coupled cooling and heat removal
- Coordination of air conditioners
Energy Efficiency Measures
Other energy efficiency measures that have been proven to reduce energy usage.
- High efficiency HVAC (ENERGY STAR)
- Configuration changes optimizing airflow
- Energy Efficient and Thermally Robust servers
- Lighting upgrades to LED or other energy efficient systems
- Optimizing thermal environment
For existing data center facilities, bundling energy efficient equipment with other initiatives reduces the overall energy demand. The use of renewable energy sources is another method of reducing the carbon footprint of a data canter. Wind and solar are common sources of renewable energy and can be owned by the center or obtained through a procurement contract.
The construction of new data centers can be very intentionally designed to incorporate energy-efficient construction practices. Site selection should be done carefully to avoid natural disaster zones. Layout and space planning can be designed to achieve the highest efficiency in airflow and space use. Best construction practices for energy efficient buildings should be used. Internal building systems for mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection should be up to the standards indicated in ASHRAE guidelines. Energy efficiency should be a top priority as new data centers are designed.
Funding opportunities are available in the form of federal and local incentive programs, green loans and decarbonization initiatives. Equipment rebates may also be available. Often requirements to qualify for some of this funding would be certification with green programs such as ENERGY STAR, LEED or National Green Building Standard.
Reducing consumption should also be paired with procuring the best deal on the energy supply. Aggregate groups use the power of bulk buying to save members up to 30% on the cost of their energy. A well negotiated energy procurement contract can lock in reduced cost for a designated period of time. Using a network of suppliers, the best plan can be determined to meet company goals around energy bill management, renewable targets and other sustainability objectives.
In order to design and implement a successful energy reduction plan, you can find many resources at energy.gov, or you can become a Data Center Energy Practitioner (DCEP) by taking an extensive training program. FEMP and the CoE host live webinars and training events. There are tools online such as the Data Center Profiler (DC Pro) which is an assessment tool. These resources are invaluable and packed with the information needed to begin an energy reduction plan. But these methods will take time and time is money, especially with energy prices when they are today. The Albireo Energy team has expertise and experience in energy efficiency measures in data centers. With one phone call, all the information you could find in these programs can be instantly available. Albireo will work with the c-suite to create the best strategy for improving your energy management.