Improving the energy efficiency of a data centre or TLC room: what parameters to consider and how to successfully intervene?
Air conditioning in a telecommunications or IT technical room is energy intensive and has a large economic and emissions footprint, due to fossil fuels and refrigerants, many of which have a high global warming potential (GWP).
Reducing cooling loads requires an approach involving the design and construction of energy-efficient technical rooms. By using ‘passive’ cooling strategies it is possible to meet the lower load with high efficiency solutions.
In order to raise awareness on this issue, a coordinated effort between political action, technological progress and consumer awareness is essential.
With this in mind, as DIRECTIVE (EU) 2018/2002 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND COUNCIL of 11 December 2018 states:
“Improving energy efficiency along the whole energy chain, including generation, transmission, distribution and end use of energy, will benefit the environment, improve air quality and public health, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy security by reducing dependence on energy imports from countries outside the Union, it will reduce energy costs for households and businesses, help alleviate energy poverty and lead to increased competitiveness, jobs and activity in all sectors of the economy, thus improving citizens’ quality of life”.
The problem of poor energy efficiency in technical rooms
As we know, an IT technical room and a TLC room include several power systems: a redundant communication network, an environmental control system (e.g. cooling and air conditioning) and security systems.
The IT equipment in the room generates a lot of heat during operation, and it must be cooled continuously and kept at a constant temperature to prevent overheating and damage. To this end, cooling systems comprising chillers, pumps and fans are still all too often used.
It is clear that, in addition to the serious environmental consequences, electricity costs can have a high impact on the budget of technical premises if energy-saving systems or strategies are not applied.
The consumption of IT infrastructure is closely linked to that of the energy used for cooling equipment, and it is becoming increasingly important to find and apply solutions to reduce consumption.
Power Usage Effectiveness: the unit of measurement that assesses the efficiency of a technical room
To measure energy consumption, the PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) of the TLC ozone room must be calculated.
Effectiveness) of the TLC room or data centre. This indicates how energy-efficient the facility is and helps to understand how much electrical power is dedicated to powering IT equipment compared to auxiliary services such as air conditioning, UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) and SE (Energy Station) .
However, there is often a problem: many companies do not have accurate measurement systems that allow IT operators to verify the results of their decisions, because it is usually the administrative departments that see the monthly energy bill, which includes the total energy used by the data centre or TLC room.
In order to be able to have data and monitor the energy consumption one should start with the creation of a “power profile” for each rack.
Modern solutions for energy efficiency
In an environment where many companies still rely on cooling systems with pumps, fans and air conditioners, the use of an alternative “free” cooling system is becoming more and more popular. This uses the temperature of the outside environment to cool the warm air inside, resulting in negligible energy consumption and a minimal weight on the total PUE.
Would you like to find out more about how Direct Free Cooling works? You can learn more in this article.
In conclusion, the tool for improving energy efficiency through the study of reference metrics is undoubtedly the energy audit. In other words, a systematic assessment of how energy is used from the point at which it is acquired to its point of final use and, therefore, how it is managed and consumed.
This is the first and fundamental step in identifying achievable margins for improvement. In detail, we analyse:
➢How and where energy enters the plant, establishment, system or part of equipment.
➢Where it goes and is used.
➢Any conversion between the input points and its uses.
➢How it can be used more effectively and efficiently.
Vactis carries out energy audits and customised solutions to increase performance, decrease environmental impact, reduce costs and meet our partners’ every need.
If you would like to find out how you can increase the energy efficiency of your technical premises with our interventions, or would like more information on our solutions, contact us!