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How to slash data center power requirements (by a LOT)

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By: SGN Staff

Quick Take: The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) is sharing some promising results from its energy efficiency research team. They've been working on ways to cut the power requirements of modern data centers. They cite four major techniques with potential energy savings up to 20%, 17%, 15% and 5% respectively. Combine them and you'd be slashing total energy by a LOT.

 

As you will read, several utilities are using these concepts for their own data centers. But those utilities with energy efficiency mandates could just as easily help customers using these techniques. The customers get lower bills and the utilities get efficiency credits. - By Jesse Berst

 

To reduce the power consumption of an ever-expanding population of high-density data centers, EPRI investigated the potential for energy reduction at multiple fronts. This included reducing the number of voltage transformations in power distribution systems, retrofitting ordinary power supplies with highly efficient “80 PLUS” power supplies, intelligently managing airflow in server aisles, using state-of-the-art software to enable servers and air conditioners to work in concert to reduce the energy consumed by the servers and the cooling systems, and operating servers in higher temperatures. This demonstration highlights that owners of data centers have multiple options for reducing their energy bills, extending the life of assets, and increasing the reliability of their servers.

 

An electric utility in the Southwest U.S. commissioned an airflow-management and cooling-control system at its main data center. With the advanced control system, the utility managed the cooling of 6,000 square feet of raised floor and over 50 racks of servers. It also installed dozens of meters and a wireless mesh network to collect measurements over a wide area.

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