The Raritan Blog

Going Green with Free Cooling in Data Centers

Rick Gonedes
June 22, 2017

A facility's data centers can represent a massive portion of its energy consumption. As energy costs continue to climb and resources become more strained, cooling costs will grow. Free cooling options allow you to get ahead of rising costs and make your data center more efficient. Businesses that aim for long-term sustainability can look here first when finding ways to cut down on power usage. This both lowers costs every month and helps a company do what it can for long-term environmental sustainability.

Efficiency is a key concept in all activities. Why build more capacity when you can make better use of what you already have? To take full advantage of outside environmental conditions to cool your IT equipment, keep all of the following in mind.

Air-side Cooling for a More Sustainable Building

With air-side cooling, the outside air is brought into the building to perform cooling naturally. A distribution system allows you to use ambient temperatures in the outside air to bring down the temperature inside. This can be a practical solution at any time of year in cooler climates. Even in warm climates or hotter times of the year, cooler night air can be used to cut down temperatures when the temperatures outside fall below what is wanted in your data center.

Many people who consider air cooling are dissuaded by the relative humidity of cool air; in colder climates, the air is far drier than what is desirable in a data center. In these areas, the air will have to be humidified. Depending on the technology used, this may increase the costs of using air-side cooling.

Because of the need for additional ducts and openings, air-side cooling is most practical when it is part of a building's original design instead of a feature that is added later on.

Take Full Advantage of Water-side Cooling

Most data centers already use chilled water to cool down their systems. Since the cooling towers and piping are already in place, why not use these to take full advantage of cooling the facility? Water-side cooling uses the cooling capacity of the cooling tower instead of relying on chillers during the cooler months.

According to Energy Star, water-side cooling is a great option in areas where the temperature drops below 55 degrees for 3,000 hours or more. Another advantage is that this is a system that is easy to retrofit if it is already in place. You can add on to existing condenser lines to bring cooling to the whole area.

Choose Busways to Generate Less Heat

Power distribution in your data center comes with two options: you can either put it all under a raised floor or use busways to suspend power along with the ceilings overhead.

Underfloor power distribution impedes airflow. The result is hot spots that will either heat up your data center or require you to excessively cooling the space. Instead, by running your power above the room using busways, you can eliminate these hot spots and make the entire space cooler without extra cooling costs.

Because of the cooling advantage, these design choices offer, they essentially become free cooling for your data centers. Whenever you add ways for your data centers to take advantage of passive cooling, you are cutting your costs and your consumption. Be continually looking for ways to cut your energy usage in the cooling of your data centers-- over time, you will significantly cut the amount you spend and contribute to long-term sustainability. In addition to free cooling, an important way to save is through environmental monitoring. By accurately collecting environmental data points with Xerus Technology Platform, one will be provided with more precise information, allowing cooling equipment to run more efficiently and at a lower cost. To learn more about environmental monitoring, click here.