Maximize Efficiency in Commercial Buildings
How to Reduce Data Center Energy Usage
Serving as the backbone for the contemporary work- place, data centers and server bases have become integral to the day-to-day operation of a building’s
technological presence. With the ever-growing dependency on technology in
individual workplaces, the total number
of data centers is expected to increase
40% from 2010 to 2020 as building occu-
pants implement their own server bases
to centralize networks.
Despite their proliferation, energy
usage in data centers has plateaued in
recent years. The increase in data centers
has not been proportional to energy
consumption, as energy usage is only
expected to rise 4% from 2014 to 2020.
Although promising, most of the
greatest steps in increasing efficiency
have come in larger data centers utilized
most often by major corporations and
organizations. In fact, 60% of data center
usage in 2020 is projected to come from
small data centers.
However, those who keep servers in
smaller data centers or computer rooms
have many opportunities to decrease
energy usage. These solutions range from
simple maintenance strategies to more
intricate technological responses.
Starting small, you might be able to save
some energy costs through the simple act
of tidying up the data center itself.
Cables can accumulate to the point that
the functional ones are indistinguishable
from those that are unused, resulting in
clutter and possible extra energy usage.
Additionally, keep any vents on the floor
clear to provide proper air flow.
If you can stay ahead of changes in your
data center’s configuration by keeping
cables together and vents open, you can
create space and prevent the buildup of
heat that can overtax cooling systems.
Decluttering the server base may help
some heating and cooling problems but
only in small increments. You may require
a more comprehensive cooling system to
make a large impact on energy usage.
One such temperature-based solution
is the implementation of hot and cold
aisles. This configuration places a cold
aisle between server cabinets where cold
air from a computer room air conditioner
(CRAC) cools servers, and the hot air
is emitted from the other sides of the
cabinets into the hot aisles, where it
returns to the CRAC through a hot air
SMALL DATA CEN TERS represent 60% of the data
center usage projected in 2020.
you can move air of different temperatures
with precision to save on cooling.
Optimizing Server Usage
Some servers may only operate as little
as 10% of the time, so even if the physical
space is organized and cooled properly,
the servers themselves might be a major
source of wasted energy usage.
Power consumption software and
hardware improvements can keep data
centers from using more energy than is
actually needed during operation.
Servers often run one application
at a time, but they can handle a higher
workload. You can reduce the amount
of hardware in your data center by
Using a software application, you
can create multiple locations in a given
server to run more than one function.
This allows a server to multitask, which
reduces the total number of servers
needed and the energy consumed through
their operation and cooling.
If you have a smaller server base,
there are likely many opportunities to
cut energy costs, but the more action
you take will ultimately yield the most
savings. Whether you take care of simpler
organizational issues, install a new
cooling system, implement optimal server
methods or any combination of these, you
have the potential to save big.
Justin Feit firstname.lastname@example.org is
assistant editor of BUILDINGS.