The energy used to operate the server room air conditioners is often more than the energy used to power the computer equipment in the server room. Implementing seemingly small measures can save a bundle.
Matt Newstrom, a Senior Advisor with CresaPartners, published the first of a two part review about his work with PECI, a leader in energy conservation. CrestaPartners partnered with PECI on the leasing, planning, and project management of its new 60,000 SF office space which includes a server room. It's the server room improvements that impressed Newstrom most.
Let's face it. We ALL want to do our part to conserve resources and reduce our energery usage but the cutting-edge technologies usually cut too deep in the pocket book for most small businesses. The payback time for some green solutions is just too long and the cost is usually prohibitive.
The first two strategies mentioned by Nestrom on the PECI project can be successfully applied to "green" even small server rooms:
Contain and Exhaust Hot Air
Computers generate heat regardless of the season or time of day. The trick is to contain the heat and exhaust it BEFORE the heat permeates into the surrounding space. PECI achieved this by using a "chimney cabinet" which exhausts the heat from the equipment directly out the back of the cabinet into a return duct or directly to the outside.
Raise Server Room Temperature Set-Point
The computer is the incredible shrinking machine and over the years the ultra-sensitive, mega-mainframe monsters have evolved into tiny (relatively speaking) heat-tolerant cabinets. And most servers no longer have strict humidification tolerance or require special computer room flooring. Meat-locker temperatures are no longer required! Move that thermostat north of 72 degrees! PECI's set-point is currently 85 degrees and they hope to move up to 90.
Even if these two strategies are successfully implemented there may be a need for extra server cooling. To keep your server room from becoming a sauna, you don't have to install a complicated computer room air conditioner (CRAC). Portable air conditioners may be a solution for your cooling problems. Dissipate the heat from the computers by directing the cold air onto the rack or equipment rather than cooling the entire room.
Newstrom will be discussing two more strategies used by PECI in part II of this series. You can read Newstrom's entire article to get more details on the PECI project. I'll be looking for part II!
What have you done to "green" your server room? Comment here and let me know. I'd love to hear from you.
Photo: Salvatore Vuono