Unexpected Savings

Data Center Cooling Systems Return
Unexpected Maintenance Cost Savings

Advanced cooling management in critical facilities such as
data centers and telecom central offices can save tons of energy (pun
intended). Using advanced cooling management to achieve always-ready,
inlet-temperature-controlled operation, versus the typical always-on,
always-cold approach yields huge energy savings.

But energy savings isn’t the only benefit of advanced cooling management. NTT America recently took a hard look at some of the
direct, non-energy savings of an advanced cooling system. They quantified
savings from reduced maintenance costs, increased cooling capacity from
existing resources, improved thermal management and deferred capital
expenditures. Their analysis found that the non-energy benefits increased the total dollar savings by one-third.

Consider first the broader advantages of reduced maintenance costs. Advanced cooling management identifies when CRACs are operating
inefficiently. Turning off equipment that doesn’t need to be on reduces wear and tear. Equipment that isn’t running isn’t wearing out. Reducing wear and tear reduces the chance of an unexpected failure, which is always something to avoid in a mission-critical facility. One counter-intuitive result of turning off lightly provisioned CRACs is that inlet air temperatures are reduced by a few degrees. Reducing inlet air temperature also reduces the risk of IT equipment failure and increases the ride-through time in the event of a cooling system failure.

The maintenance and operations cost savings of advanced cooling
management is significant, but avoiding downtime is priceless.

Occam’s Razor

Data Center Energy Savings

The simplest approach to data center energy savings might suggest that a facility manager’s best option is to turn off a few air conditioners.  And there’s truth to this.  See the graph below, showing before and after energy usage, and the impact of turning off some of the cooling units.

Before & After Energy Management Software Started

But the simplicity suggested here is deceptive.

Which air conditioners?

How many?

How will this truly affect the temperature?

What’s the risk to uptime or ridethrough?

While turning things off or down is likely our greatest opportunity for significant, immediate savings, the science driving the decision of which device to turn off and when, is complex and dynamic.

Fortunately, a convergence of new technology – wireless sensors for continuous, real-time and location-specific data, along with predictive, adaptive software algorithms that take into account all immediate and known variables at any given moment – can predict the future impact of energy management decisions, taking on/off decision-making to a new level.  Now, for the first time, it’s possible – thanks to the latest AI technology – to automatically, constantly and dynamically manage cooling resources to reduce average temperatures across a facility and avoid hot and cold spots of localized temperature extremes. Simultaneously, overall cooling energy consumption is reduced by intelligently turning down, or off, the right CRACs at the right time. The result is continually optimized cooling with greater assurance that the overall integrity of the data center is preserved.