Making data centers more energy efficient is a daunting task for any IT department but it may be a bit easier with the next-generation data center cooling system from Core4 Systems Inc., which the company says cuts energy costs by up to 72 percent and water usage by 28 percent. These savings become even more attractive with subsidies and rebates that have emerged from state and federal governments, says the company.
These savings are significant considering more decision makers, who are responsible for their companies’ datacenter and green IT strategies, consider energy efficiency as a key factor in a green data center.
Case-in-point: Customer Sonet.net, based in Santa Rosa, Calif., said by replacing its existing Liebert computer room air-conditioning (CRAC) with the new Core4 systems, the company cut its cooling-related energy consumption by 72 percent, and was approved for a $153,000 rebate from PG&E, saving more than $11,600 per month. The company also has cut its power utilization efficiency (PUE) rating from 1.82 to 1.25 without sacrificing temperature or humidity control.
The Napa, Calif.-based cooling gear company’s CRAC, air-handling units (AHU) and chiller systems are designed for today’s $6-billion retrofit and new construction data center markets.
However, Core4 is targeted at retrofitting existing data centers, which it can do for between $250 and $350 per square foot, reports Reuters. Core4 told Reuters the system frees up to 40 percent to 50 percent more power and cooling capacity at an existing data center, which delays building another new facility that can cost closer to $2,000-$3,000 per square foot. Core4 also said that the system pays for itself between 1.5 and 2 years.
According to the EPA, data center energy consumption is forecast to nearly double to 120 billion KWh by 2011, which would make the data center industry the single largest user of energy in the U.S. This energy consumption rate is forecast to continue doubling in the next five years. Typically, 40-60 percent of this annual energy spend is consumed by cooling systems for IT equipment, according to Core4.
Core4 said its solutions can achieve average PUE ratings as low as 1.25 under the current standard for data center operation: 57-deg F Supply Air Temperature, 68-deg F Return Air Temperature and 45 percent relative humidity. Legacy data center cooling systems are averaging a PUE of 2.25, according to the Uptime Institute. That’s a difference between spending $.44 per ton hour for cooling and less than $.11 per hour after a Core4 retrofit, according to the company. (However, Kenneth Brill, executive director at Uptime Institute, which developed the PUE concept, warned last year that PUE claims of 0.9, 1.2 or 1.6 in marketing materials are probably misleading.)
Core4’s new solutions also play a role in reducing water usage onsite at data center facilities at regional power plants. The company said a typical 100-ton water-cooled data center consumes 1.2 million gallons of water per year at the onsite facility, which can double depending on cycle concentration rates in cooling towers. With a Core4 data center-cooling infrastructure, water consumption can be significantly reduced to 900,000 gallons at the power plant per year due to the total energy savings, said the company.