Economizers Shave 20% off Data Center Energy Costs

Posted on: November 12, 2011

  • Nearly half of data centers are using economizers to provide natural cooling, and they are saving an average of 20 percent off their energy costs, according to a survey by the Green Grid.
  • The survey of 115 people working on data centers of 2,500 square feet or larger found 49 percent using economizers, a type of cooling that takes advantage of favorable weather conditions to cut down on energy use, and 24 percent are considering implementation. Those using economizers found an average of seven percent savings on maintenance costs.
  • The survey participants included facilities managers, engineers, IT professionals, executives and project managers.
  • There are two basic kinds of economizers. Air-side systems blow fresh air into the data center and discharge hot air back out, or use air-to-air heat exchangers. Water-side systems remove heat from chilled water loops using a heat exchange with outside air. In the survey, the most popular types of systems were direct outside air (39%) and chilled water with a water-cooled chiller (27%).
  • Those who had considered but not installed economizers cited the difficulty of retrofitting an existing facility as the biggest factor in their decision. Almost three-quarters of economizers are installed during new construction as opposed to retrofitting. Reliability was another big concern for those deciding against economizers.

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