It is estimated that 1% of the world’s energy is currently used to cool server rooms. And this number is going up fast, as the number of data centres keeps growing, putting increasing pressure on energy supply systems and on the environment because of the consequent rise in CO2 emissions. The ICT industry is responding by moving away from traditional air conditioning systems and looking for environmentally responsible cooling solutions.
Energy efficient and environmentally responsible cooling
Evaporative cooling provides a highly effective solution for data centres, with low installation and running costs, minimal maintenance requirements and quiet operation. It uses the cooling power of water to reduce the temperature inside the data centre and only requires minimal power supply for the fans that circulate the air. The hotter the outside temperature, the more efficient they are in dealing with the high levels of heat generated by the servers and the excess humidity. During the colder winter days, hot extract air can be re-circulated into the supply air so that the temperature is maintained within desired levels.
In favourable conditions, a well-designed evaporative cooling system can cut a data centre’s energy use by up to 80%, considerably benefiting its bottom line and the environment.
Data centres depend on a system that maintains temperature and humidity levels within an allowed range, so that it needs to operate round the clock. This means that when they install an evaporative cooling system instead of an energy-guzzling A/C they are saving 24 hours a day. With such savings and low installation costs, payback is remarkably quick!
Why are we talking about this now?
IT equipment operating environment specifications have recently been revised, opening the way to evaporative cooling in data centres. The new requirements, published in the 2011 update to the ASHRAE handbook, extend the range of recommended temperatures, which now must be maintained between 18oC and 25oC, while humidity should remain below 60% RH. In addition, for short periods of time temperature can now be allowed to drop down to 15oC and rise to 32oC, and humidity can reach up to 80% RH.
Do you want to know more about evaporative cooling?
If you are considering evaporative cooling for your data centre, you can also read our article on the safety of evaporative cooling, or you can visit the section on our website relating to Colt CoolStream evaporative cooling systems.
Hear more about the Coolstream system at the Datacentre World show on February 27th 2013
The Coolstream system will be presented in the conference session on “High Density meets very low PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) – Faster, more reliable and cheaper in a box” at 2pm in the Network and Infrastructure Theatre on 27 February 2013.
The talk will focus on the highly energy efficient containerised data centre solutions developed by Colt with data centre specialists on365 and engineering company Automation.
Laurence Cockman is an Area Manager at Colt UK with experience in the design and application of HVAC and smoke ventilation systems.