Energy-Saving Strategies Should Start with Data Centers

by | May 7, 2010

When it’s time to buy new equipment, IT buyers should think green because it can result in significant savings for businesses, says The savings from new data center equipment comes from their lower energy consumption, less heat and waste generation and longer life cycle.

Case-in-point: Verizon’s energy-efficiency standards for the company’s suppliers of network equipment saved 91 million kilowatt hours and prevented more than 114 million pounds of CO2 emissions.

A survey conducted by Digital Realty Trust last year indicates that 73 percent of the respondents identified energy efficiency as the key aspect of a green data center.

IT stakeholders including those at Staples and Verizon provided with several tips for buying green. First, they recommend that companies develop green specifications and standards as purchasing guidelines. They should also include green performance clauses in their contracts.

Other recommendations include asking hardware and software vendors for refined power management capabilities and getting support from top management for green equipment purchasing initiatives.

Power is also another important consideration because inefficient power consumption across many servers can cause energy cost spikes. Recommendations include purchasing high-density power and cooling solutions specifically designed for smaller virtualized blade environments, buying switches and routers equipped with power-aware ports for greater power savings, and shifting to storage virtualization.

Power utilization efficiency (PUE) is one of the biggest concerns in green data center designs, according to a question and answer interview with one of the country’s leading data center design and engineering firms Environmental Systems Design for

Paul Schlattman, vice president of ESD’s Mission Critical Facilities Group, says to improve the PUE in a data center for Allstate, it installed economizers that use outside air for cooling and raised the temperature of the chilled water so it takes less energy to operate at warmer temperatures. This resulted in a measured PUE of 1.34.

The Green Grid consortium, together with several global government and industry organizations in the U.S., Europe and Japan, recently agreed on guiding principles for globally accepted data center energy-efficiency metrics using PUE rating at the center of the industry’s new preferred energy-efficiency metric.

Other topics discussed include new building and data center trends such as the migration to blade servers and virtualization software as well as green roofs, space requirements, and retrofitting challenges.

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