Just as with other commercial structures and facilities, data centers can often benefit from strategic changes to the HVAC system. Coupled with interventions specific to the data center’s special needs, this can cause significant savings. Over time, that could mean millions of dollars that can be directly reinvested into equipment or operations.
Consider these energy-saving approaches:
Adjust Server Inlet Temperature and Humidity
It’s beyond doubt that most server-grade computer equipment operates best at a low temperature. However, many experts have traditionally overestimated how cold the operating environment must be to get the best performance possible. Typical data center temperatures run as low as 55°F, even though it’s been years since ASHRAE revised its recommendations to a higher range.
Today’s data center typically operates at 10°F cooler than required for optimal performance. Likewise, humidity controls are often far more strict than necessary. Overcompensating for the legitimate risks brought by high humidity can cause other problems, including electrostatic discharge. That can cause hard disks, motherboards, and other components to fail.
By updating temperature control practices, businesses can yield immediate cost savings.
Introduce an Air-Side Economizer
An air-side economizer is a specialized temperature control component. It brings outside air into the building and distributes it to equipment. Exhaust air is then directed outside. This saves on the costs associated with re-cooling and re-circulating air – a process that’s often inefficient and vulnerable to multiple failure points.
An air-side economizer delivers another benefit traditionally associated with a separate piece of equipment: Reduction of particulate matter in the air. This helps protect the server room from the disastrous effects of both indoor and outdoor pollution.
Install a Water-Side Economizer
One drawback of an air-side economizer is the fact outside air may sometimes be too warm or too humid to be introduced into the data center. For facilities that already benefit from chilled water plants, a water-side economizer can be an ideal solution.
A water-side economizer makes use of a cooling tower’s evaporative capacity to produce chilled water. It supports operational continuity by adding redundancy to data center cooling: If a chiller goes offline, the economizer itself can deliver cooled water.
Your business relies on its data center – and in many ways, your data center relies on your HVAC system. The experts at Donnelly Mechanical can work with you to enhance your overall efficiency, reduce cost, and improve uptime. Contact us today.