DCs¨2013 Trend #3 Energy Efficiency

As all of us have seen tha last 4-5 years around the globe the energy efficiency has become a very strong trend, around the building industry not only for the climate change ( season, artic´s ice  mealting, big storms,...) but because the operational costs.

Data Centres need electricity huge amount of it, to be on; and with the BIG DATA and mobile devices trends the processing / storaging / connectivity  are requiring more and more energy. So the DCs location is a very important issue to consider, not only to choose in for building them , but to get afterwards the facility is running the supply growth that these building always need.

Energy quality and availability are of course the other face of the coin, in europe or USA the supply is quite good during 8760hs per year, however DCs are need  all over the world and a lot of them are located far -far away- from those kind of energy realiable quality sources, but still they must exist there. This situation can be solve with self generation energy via different ways -fossil fuel or sustainable: geothermal, tide, fuel cell, wind,among others .....) so the economics arise as the decision driver to consider.

In some countries -like México- more than 80% of the generation is made with fossil fuels and other countries -France & Germany- with quite stressing generation like nuclear one.  Others like Costa Rica & Colombia are more on green sources - some issues with volcanos & narcotics-  It is not easy then to find a location with the best energy source, so where we choose to build and keep running one will need to be a nergy efficient location; which systmes are the worst eating energy ones?

No trouble to choose, COOLING is the worst; but why, well because the amount of cooling depends on the IT equipment age; new equipment can run in an WARM enviroment  ( 25°C+)  but it is very costly to change all of them at once in any DC facility, then the ASHRAE new temperatura & humidity parameters will take few years -depending on each DC- to be change in every DC, but you can be sure in the next eigth years we will need a short instead a pullover to use when we enter in a computer room.

Then what can do in the mean time 2-4 years depending on our IT churn?

Well my advise is to:

a)  Measure your DC´s efficency, this can be done with TGG´s metrics (PUE, CUE, WUE, and so) or your own building country reglation.

b) Look deeply in what the EU CoC, TGG, UTI  have set as Best Practices to reduce the amount of waste Cooling, some of the as cheap as few dollars in each cabinet -closing air breaches- and other as costly as active containment -like IN Row solution- or stressing  -electrical / telecomm overhead change to free under raised floor space-

c) set a plan and allocate enough resources (Talent, Money, Time) to get  a real benefit on what you are investing in a certain time frame.

All of them need a very detailed plan, program and budget  to solve several issues.

There is NOT:
  •  a single magic solution, -sealing, containment, .....-
  •  a cheap one -nothing is free-
  •  easy one -most of them need to be set in LIVE operation-
But the good news are that all of them will enhace you energy efficiency:
  • reducing the utility bill
  • giving you spare energy to grow your business.
  • recognizing your organizationas social responsible enterprise 

Of course I am a devoted to get the most efficent  energy -not only in DC- inside building industry operation with sustainable energy generation; I bet you that invest in enhacing your effiency you will be paid in the business. It is a very good investment for the years to come.

But please share what do you think

Roberto Sánchez, RCDD


  1. This is an interesting topic on how to cut back on energy costs. For those who have heated floors, it is pretty much difficult to save money if we constantly make use of our heating systems for comfort. Thankfully, we are advised by informative posts such as this one and still be able to feel comfortable in our homes and yet help in the conservation of our natural resources.


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