Data Center Best Practices in Energy Efficiency

By: Chris Riso 

EDF Climate Corps Fellows at Cisco Recently, John Collins of Eaton shared a useful write-up of five best practices Google uses to manage the enormous energy consumption of its data centers. EDF Climate Corps is familiar with these techniques and sees them in use at a number of other industry leading companies, many of which, like Google, have participated in the EDF Climate Corps program.
 

To help with airflow management, which Collins cites as one of the most critical strategies to reduce energy consumption, several organizations have engaged an EDF Climate Corps fellow. Aisle containment, which separates the air cooling servers from the hot exhaust, can be particularly effective. As we’ve written before, EDF fellows at Syniverse and RBS Citizens Bank have worked to help implement this technique. At Quality Technology Services in Atlanta last summer, the EDF fellow evaluated the potential for blanking panels, which improve airflow by covering empty slots in server racks, to increase efficiency in concert with retrofits of computer room air conditioning (CRAC) units.
 

Another rather familiar way to save money on cooling is to turn up the thermostat – also one of Google’s leading strategies. As IT equipment has improved, it can now operate reliably at hotter temperatures. In turn, less energy needs to be spent on cooling. The latest data center thermal guidelines from ASHRAE (the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) reflect this trend, and EDF fellows have helped hosts like DirecTV understand how small changes in temperatures can create big savings without forsaking equipment performance or dependability.
 

As Collins highlights, the systems that distribute power within the data center are another area with potential for improved efficiency. Cisco has engaged several EDF fellows to focus on power management in company R&D labs. Their analysis has shown that deploying specialized power distribution units (PDUs) can save the company an estimated $8 million per year and reduce the company's greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 39,000 tonnes of GHG emissions.
 

If you are interested in discussing how an EDF Climate Corps fellow can help reduce the energy consumption of your data center, contact me at criso@edf.org.
 

About EDF Climate Corps

EDF Climate Corps (edfclimatecorps.org) taps the talents of tomorrow’s leaders to save energy, money and the environment by placing specially-trained EDF fellows in companies, cities and universities as dedicated energy problem solvers. Working with hundreds of leading organizations, EDF Climate Corps has found an average of $1 million in energy savings for each participant. For more information, visit edfclimatecorps.org. Read our blog at edfclimatecorps.org/blog. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/edfbiz and on Facebook at facebook.com/EDFClimateCorps.