Daily Archives: January 8, 2018

Lowering Energy Costs of Data Centers

Data centers and their servers within them are of growing importance to companies. As companies have painfully learned during non-functional periods, such as breakdowns, severe storms, or blackouts, the cost for a company of losing data is tremendous. It has been cataloged that many companies went out of business as a result of hurricanes or other natural disasters that caused data centers to stop functioning and lose data. After all, a lot of what a company is its data. Without which (for controls, sales, marketing, etc.) it can be existential. Even “small” companies realize the importance of a high-quality data center system.

Therefore, in utilizing larger and more redundant equipment and systems, companies are finding themselves paying a heavy energy cost penalty. Not only must they operate large amounts of energy-using equipment, but to prevent malfunctions (often due to excessive heating of systems), such data centers are often cooled 24/7 to very low temperatures, extracting a cooling energy penalty, too.

What can be done to maintain the reliability of a data center, or but save some energy costs, too?  The federal government’s Energy Star lists 12 items an operator can do to manage and minimize energy use and costs of a data center. See: https://www.energystar.gov/products/low_carbon_it_campaign/12_ways_save_energy_data_center These include decommissioning non-functioning systems, consolidating under-used servers, utilizing fans with variable speed drives, utilizing HVAC with air-side or water-side economizers, and others. The webpage lists several case studies.

Another way to reduce costs and improve reliability is to implement combined heat and power (CHP cogen) systems to supply electricity for data centers. CHP utilizes the waste heat from a boiler that would otherwise be lost to produce electricity, reducing the amount purchased from the local utility. Early data centers were often located remote from other offices or facilities of a firm, but the more recent trend is to co-locate a data center within an existing facility, often the corporate headquarters. This makes CHP more appealing, as it can produce electricity and steam for multiple functions besides a data center.

According to Persistence Market Research (https://www.persistencemarketresearch.com/mediarelease/us-combined-heat-and-Power-systems-market.asp), growth in CHP for data centers in the U.S. will be at 3.4% annually through 2024, as business owners see rising energy costs, and need to minimize the rising usage with maintaining a reliable data center. A growing number of utilities encourage companies to generate their own electricity and putting less demand onto the grid, and will provide financial incentives to incorporate. Revenue sales of CHP systems for data centers is estimated to reach $277 million in 2024, and will be predominantly high in five high-use energy states known to have corporate and data centers, California, New York, Washington, Texas and Massachusetts.

Data centers with greater and more sophisticated servers will become more common as the risk of losing data through natural disasters or loss of power becomes recognized as a critical issue for a company’s survival. These more redundant systems have an energy penalty associated with it, therefore, driving efforts to maintain such systems in a reliable manner while minimizing energy costs.

CCES has the technical experts to help you assess all of your company’s or building’s energy needs and be able to have you function normally and reliably, while reducing your energy costs and getting additional financial benefits, as well (improve sales, reduce O&M, etc.). We are here to maximize your financial benefits for utilizing smart energy conservation methods. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at karell@CCESworld.com.