The creation of the internet brought not only wider access to data, but a higher desire for it, especially in the business world. And the more data that exists, the higher the demand for a place to store it.
Data centers were created to cater to that demand, and since their inception they have grown exponentially. Today there are 2,670 data centers in the U.S. and they consumed approximately 73 billion kWh in 2020. It is known that between 30% to 60% of a data center’s energy costs are caused by their cooling systems. In this post we’ll talk about 6 ways for data centers to improve the efficiency of their air conditioning system.
1) Install an Economizer
An economizer is a unit that brings in outside air to be mixed with the conditioned air by an indoor fan. Economizers are normally paired with variable speed drives on the outdoor fan, which helps reduce electricity used for cooling. This type of system has been shown to save data centers more than 30% of their total energy costs per year.
2) Use Variable Speed Drives
Variable speed drives can be connected directly or downstream from an economizer or air handler. They may also work stand-alone. Variable speed drives are connected to fans and pumps, allowing them to run slower when not needed at full capacity. This reduces power bills by reducing how many times the larger equipment must turn on and off throughout the day.
3) Install a Water-Cooled Chiller
A water-cooled chiller is a cooling system that uses a liquid to remove heat from the air, rather than using a fan and evaporative cooling pads. Water-cooled chillers use water as their source of heat instead of following the common practice of taking heat from outdoor air, which results in the need for more energy overall.
In addition to being less taxing on your energy bills, there are other benefits to this system. Water-cooled chiller systems use gravity to help them operate efficiently because they have no large fan or pump systems running at full capacity, saving both space and money. They’re also efficient at higher altitudes because they don’t require a compressor or condenser sitting outside that requires constant heating and cooling.
Unfortunately, water-cooled chillers are more expensive to invest in initially, but they provide significant energy savings over time.
4) Reduce the Number of Cold-Aisle Containment Doors
One way data centers can reduce air conditioning costs for their cold aisles is by putting in fewer doors and maximizing the space and airflow efficiency. By having only one containment door open at a time, it means that you won’t have to run your AC as much. This also ensures that if the door fails, the rest of your infrastructure won’t be affected because there’s no other door to maintain cooling flow in that area.
5) Put in Radiant Barriers on Walls & Floors
Radiant barriers are another option available to data centers. Radiant barriers are most often placed in high-ceiling areas because heat rises. Radiant barriers will reduce the amount of energy necessary to cool a room by reflecting radiant heat that would otherwise be sent into the ceiling back down to where it can be treated with something like an air conditioner.
6) Provide High-Pressure Air Conditioning Through Raised Floors or Walls
Another option is to use high-pressure air conditioning through raised floors or walls. High-pressure air conditioning would cover the majority of the room, reducing the number of cold spots that are more likely to have higher temperatures. This method can be combined with radiant barriers for even better results.
Ready to Start Saving?
When it comes to saving on cooling costs, there are many things data centers can do. The six tips we’ve listed should help you start thinking about how your business could save money and reduce energy usage at the same time.
If you need more information or guidance in implementing these changes, consider contacting an HVAC/R coil manufacturer like Rahn Industries for assistance with optimizing airflow and other cooling system components inside of your data center. We work hard every day to ensure that our customers have access to reliable solutions from experts who care about their success as much as they do theirs!
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