Worldwide, data centers are estimated to use 30 billion watts of electricity, roughly equivalent to the output of 30 nuclear power plants, according to a recent New York Times article on data center energy use. Data centers in the United States account for one-quarter to one-third of that load, these estimates show.
In most data center environments, uptime and redundancy trump energy efficiency. The net result is that many data centers use two to three times as much cooling as they should to guarantee that if there is a failure with a particular HVAC system, the data center’s IT equipment will continue to receive proper cooling. However, this problem can be solved by using intelligent controls to connect all of the Computer Room Air Conditioning (CRAC) Units to a central control system that also monitors the IT equipment via temperature sensors. This monitoring and control combined with rack airflow best practices such as containment and active air management in the rack space can dramatically reduce the amount of cooling to within 10-20% of the nominal amount needed.
Understanding the various power systems in the data center, information down to the branch circuit level can be integrated into the central control system to provide data center operators with a real-time Power Utilization Effectiveness (PUE) metric, allowing them to see how efficient their data center really is and continue to take steps to improve it.
FES has deep expertise in data center airflow management and controls integration projects. Our team has developed and installed hundreds of projects, many of which have qualified for utility incentives, in both raised and slab floor data centers. Our services include: