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How Can Data Centres Be More Environmentally Friendly?

30 July, 2015

The world is developing an increasingly eco-friendly conscience, and internet giant Google is at the forefront of the revolution. The company recently announced plans to use infrastructure from a decommissioned Alabama coal power plant to create renewable energy for its next US data centre.

The move is part of its commitment to launching what’s set to be the most efficient cloud platform on the planet. Patrick Gammons, senior manager of Google’s datacentre energy and location strategy unit, explains “At Widows Creek, we can use the plants’ many electric transmission lines to bring in lots of renewable energy to power our new datacentre. Thanks to an arrangement with Tennessee Valley Authority, our electric utility, we’ll be able to scout new renewable energy projects to bring the power onto their electrical grid.” 

So what can other data centres do to follow in the footsteps of Google and make their operations as sustainable and environmentally conscious as possible? Read on as we look at some of the ways to boost eco-friendliness across the board.  

data centre cooling

Indirect adiabatic cooling

Netherlands based company Air@Work is at the vanguard of the indirect adiabatic cooling trend. Using a unique heat exchanger known as ‘StatiqCooler’ the internal passages are fitted with water attracting hygroscopic layers. These support evaporation and heat transfer directly at the interface which eliminates the need for any additional mechanical cooling. The compressor free system utilises energy efficient EC fans, ambient outdoor air and softened water to foster savings of up to 90% off the costs of running conventional mechanical cooling systems!

Separate high tolerance equipment

To minimise the workload of air conditioning systems and keep temperatures as low as possible, segregating heat tolerant equipment in warmer rooms will significantly reduce energy consumption. 

Strategic positioning of air conditioning

All new data centres are required to submit an energy conservation report as part of the planning process. Data centres opting for conventional chillers, dry coolers and condensers should ensure that air conditioning equipment is positioned with ample air space to efficiently remove heat and recirculate air.

Energy efficient lighting

Lighting up data centres can chew up energy which means it’s important to make the switch to energy efficient bulbs. LEDs and CFLs are economical choices that will slash electricity bills and minimise CO2 emissions.  

Computer racking

By configuring computer racking into hot and cold aisles data centre designers can direct hot air paths back to air conditioning systems. This boosts efficiency and ensures that air conditioning doesn’t have to work overtime.


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