Coy Stine: Data Center Retrofit Strategies
Coy Stine is Director of Data Center Services for Bluestone Energy Services, a national design/build engineering firm focused on the cost effective reduction of energy use.
In these uncertain financial times, reducing data center operating costs has become a top corporate priority. Unfortunately, limited budgets often preclude efficiency initiatives that have high initial costs. An increasingly popular alternative approach involves leveraging technologies that improve the energy efficiency of existing equipment while minimizing up-front outlays and data-center disruption. Regardless of the methodology, considerations relating to safety, reliability and data-center uptime must be faced. Finding the right solution depends on a careful examination of financial and environmental goals, data center composition and layout, time horizon and budget.
What are the best opportunities for cost-effective retrofits and energy-usage reduction in data centers? Upgrading electrical equipment is one option. Replacing UPS and PDU equipment provides two immediate benefits: less electrical loss, and less waste heat to remove. Efficiency gains depend on the age of the equipment being replaced, but a 5% gain in UPS efficiency can lead to a 10%-60% reduction in annual operational costs. These items can give attractive returns, but relatively high capital costs, possible IT downtime and daunting electrical work may make approval difficult.
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