Reducing Energy Consumption for your Data Center
Data centers and computer labs are extremely energy intensive. Data center energy consumption is driven by demand for greater computing capacity, and according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this demand has been increasing by approximately 12 percent per year. The EPA estimates that data centers currently use approximately 53 billion kWh of electricity annually. This has a cost of over $3 billion and results in over 70 billion tons of CO2 production released to the atmosphere. As energy costs continue to trend upward, it is increasingly critical from a business standpoint that data center/computer lab owners use best practices to reduce energy consumption.
OpTerra's approach to addressing and reducing the escalating energy consumption in data centers and computer labs is in keeping with the comprehensive approach that we use for treatment of energy intensive buildings and facilities.
The process consists of analyzing the existing data center equipment efficiency and operation on a support system level, including cooling systems, UPS systems, lighting systems, and controls, and then retrofitting equipment and systems with best practices that are determined to be cost effective.
Our analysis determines the savings and installed costs resulting from utilizing practices such as:
- Installation of more efficient server systems
- Efficient lighting retrofits
- Installation of free cooling systems
- More efficient base cooling systems
- Improved air flow solutions
- Efficient systems monitoring and controls
What we do
OpTerra's engineers are experienced in analyzing existing air conditioning systems and designing efficiency improvements that will reduce system energy use and provide more reliable cooling. Data centers and lab spaces can be re-organized to allow for efficient air conditioning and the air conditioning system can be optimized for the specific hardware used. Measures include retrofitting chillers and air handling units to more efficient systems, taking advantage of free cooling on both the air side and water side, and installing more efficient compressors, motors, and drives where possible. Please view some of our case studies to see our solutions implemented for customers.
Data Centers have historically been managed with uptime and security as the main focus. As a result, efficiency of HVAC systems inside the data center have taken a back seat to perceived higher levels of redundancy. In many data centers OpTerra has analyzed, the amount of cooling used is anywhere from 3-5 times the amount that is actually needed. By evaluating the Computer Room Air Conditioning (CRAC) units, IT equipment, rack configuration and other systems inside the data center, OpTerra can provide a customized solution that actively manages air-flow in an efficient manner. This centralized system uses thermostatic controls that allows more cold air to get to the racks that need it most, which results in the ability to turn CRAC units off while keeping them in standby mode in case of an emergency. Combined with other air-flow strategies, the data center runs more efficiency while the data center manager gains a higher level of knowledge and control over the HVAC systems in the room.
Data Center Infrastructure Monitoring
OpTerra can design and install a monitoring system that bridges the IT / Facilities departments by providing detailed metrics of Data Center operations. The information is accessed from a web-based interface with advanced alarm notification and data logging features. By using a combination of standard protocols and communication interfaces that are provided with data center equipment, along with hardwired and wireless sensors for legacy equipment, OpTerra is able to give Data Center managers a complete view of Data Center operations. Typical Equipment Interfaces Include:
- Computer Room AC Units
- UPS and Switchgear power usage
- PDU, STS, and Branch Circuit monitoring
- Individual rack temperatures
- Central plant status
- Battery system monitor
- Fire Alarm system
- Door Alarm