Data CenterPower and Cooling

EPA Weighs in on Data Center Efficiency

Along with a few Energy Star Specification updates, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released a brochure to help guide organizations in reducing energy consumption in their data centers.

Aptly titled, “Top 12 Ways to decrease the Energy Consumption of Your Data Center,” the brochure covers a variety of energy reducing topics. The more salient points covered in the brochure were virtualization, data organization and data center cooling. According to the information provided by the EPA, virtualization can save energy and reduce costs by 10 to 40 percent. One challenge I find that data center owners and operators have with virtualization is that the extent of server consolidation is often limited by the existing cooling infrastructure and its capabilities.  The paper also maintains that the efficiency of data storage is only about 30%. On average, without targeting data storage efficiency, a typical organization will apparently have 20 or more copies of the same information in their data center – a clear waste of resources. The document discusses a few cooling topics such as Hot Aisle/Cold Aisle containment and grommet sealing where cables enter and exit plenums. Along the same lines, recommendations on temperature controls are given. Did you know that a 1°F increase in server inlet temperature can save 4 to 5% in data center energy costs?

While these are all great suggestions and there is little debate that these procedures can reduce energy consumption (and therefore increase savings), there is often a gap between what should be done and what can actually be accomplished in the real world. With this in mind, I would like to know what has worked best for you.

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About Joe Capes:

Joe Capes is currently the Business Development Director for Schneider Electric’s Cooling Line of Business.  He has responsibility for managing all commercial aspects of the company’s data center cooling business in the Americas.  Prior to holding this role, Mr. Capes has held various senior-level management positions for Schneider Electric throughout the world, in sales, marketing and business development, spanning 12 years of service overall. He is also an active data center industry member and speaker at events which include Gartner Data Center, AFCOM, InterOp, 7×24 Exchange and Data Center Dynamics.


One Response
  1. Avatar photo FacilitiesNet

    In addition to server virtualization, two other popular ways that IT departments can save energy are disconnecting unused servers/storage equipment and purchasing energy efficient servers and other IT equipment. According to a survey of Building Operating Management readers, more than 45 percent of the facility executives who responded reported that unused IT equipment had been disconnected in “almost all data center space,” while 23 percent said that energy efficient IT equipment was being used in almost all data center space. For server virtualization, 26 percent responded “almost all data center space.” Go here for more about the survey on steps facility managers say are being used to trim IT energy use.