Data Center HVAC: Common Causes of Energy Inefficiency and How to Fix Them

data center hvacFor data center HVAC, staying operational is the main goal, but cooling a data center around the clock accrues major energy expenses. Often, subtle changes in cooling or ventilation methods can add up to huge annual energy savings.

There are a number of common sources of energy inefficiency in data center cooling operations. Many of these cooling problems are entirely avoidable with the right approach to data center HVAC.

Common Sources of Inefficiency in Data Center HVAC

One of the most common sources of inefficiency in data center cooling stems from internal and external rack layouts. In data center HVAC, hot air from equipment exhaust needs to be carefully managed so that it doesn’t mix with cool air and raise the temperature of the entire data center.

HVAC cycling also plays a major role in most cooling inefficiencies. A property manager may decide without warning to turn HVAC systems off at night, allowing data center temperatures to spike to dangerous levels.

Other common causes of inefficiency include the construction of the room – is it big enough and will the building materials allow heat dissipation – and improper thermostat placement, which can allow temperature spikes to go unnoticed.

How to Fix Common Sources of Data Center Cooling Inefficiencies

There are several ways a company can address common causes of data center cooling inefficiency. Here are a few tips:

  • Focus on ventilation: effectively managing the flow of hot air can be far cheaper than blasting an air conditioner around the clock. Make sure that hot air isn’t being trapped in your data center before investing in more cooling equipment.
  • Rearrange rack layout: arrange your servers so that hot air is separated from the flow of cool air – this undermines your cooling efforts and will require more energy.
  • Install an extra CRAC unit: a backup computer room air conditioning (CRAC) unit can kick on should another CRAC unit fail and temperatures in the server room begin to rise – this protects you from depending on any one CRAC unit for the uptime of your business.

These are just a few of the many methods you can deploy to improve the energy efficiency of your data center cooling operations. While every data center is different, the same sources of inefficiencies are usually present.

Maintaining uptime and the health of servers, as well as protecting the integrity of your company’s data, is the main objective in data center cooling. But there are major energy efficiencies to be gained with smart data center layout and cooling techniques.

To learn more about finding energy efficiency, continue reading about data center HVAC.

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