Did you know that data centers in the United States are responsible for nearly 2% of the country’s energy consumption? That’s why it has become increasingly important to ensure the integrity of the systems in data centers. Data center providers and owners alike should aim to achieve and maintain sustainable operations for their facilities. But how does one start? Below are a few tips to help transform your facility into a green data center:
Tweak Your Facility According to ASHRAE Guidelines
When you have two types of equipment sharing the same air stream and physical space, you need to adjust your data center environmental conditions appropriately. When power equipment is subjected to higher temperatures than its IT counterparts, it may impact equipment reliability. If you need extra guidance for developing facilities, you may look at the ASHRAE thermal guidelines. ASHRAE stands for American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. Their guidelines feature tips on how to optimize interior temperatures while reducing power consumption to promote cooling.
Leverage Virtualization Tech
You may have invested millions of dollars into the design and research of heat control and dissipation for your data center. However, you have to accept the reality that all those servers generate heat. You may have heard that using fewer servers is one of the ways around this issue. But the question is how? The answer is virtualization. You can virtualize your servers—allowing multiple server instances to run on a single machine—and use less physical hardware. When less physical hardware is utilized, less heat is generated. If you consume less power and generate less heat in your facility, a host of issues will go away.
Install Rack Blanking Panels
If you want to modernize your facility and go green, you should never forget about panels! By panels, we are referring to rack blanking panels. These panels are designed to create a contained server rack environment by eliminating gaps in the server racks. By doing so, you can increase usable cooling unit capacity as well as maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of the cooling infrastructure. In many cases, rack blanking panels are available in various sizes from 1U to 6U.
Improve Lighting Systems
When it comes to energy costs and output reduction, motion-activated lights, efficient lighting ballasts, etc., can be total game changers. Other than installing the latest hardware, you should also consider employing a “night lights-out” policy. This policy can help you cut down on wasteful energy use when your facility is running during non-critical business hours.
Invest in VFDs
Business owners can install variable-frequency drives on air-cooled chillers. This technique improves the efficiency of the chillers by reducing the compressor’s rotational speed in response to lower-load and off-peak conditions. By reducing rotational speed, it also means that the compressor does not have to work as hard. In addition, the chiller will consume significantly less power during off-peak conditions.
Consider Hot/Cold Aisle Containment
Hot and cold aisle containment is the practice of using physical barriers to reduce the mixing of hot air in the exhaust aisles with the cold air in data center supply aisles. Containing the two types of air helps improves cooling efficiency and lowers energy consumption. In order for containment to be effective, you are required to manage by-pass airflow:
- Sealing off raised floor cutouts
- Adding physical barrier panels between cabinets and server rack rails
- Installing blanking panels in open server rack spaces