Energy-Efficient Cooling Control Systems for Data Centers

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Novel Data Center Cooling and Control Save Energy and Optimize Utility

U.S. energy consumption from information technology (IT) equipment has risen by ~36% since 2005, an increase driven by the growth of internet usage by individuals and businesses. Data centers provide the IT infrastructure, which totals millions of servers and computing devices for data processing and storage. The electricity consumed in these data centers is mainly by the equipment (50%) and HVAC (25%–40%) to maintain the computer room environment or computer room air-conditioners (CRACs). The increasing efficiency of computer equipment design and higher equipment densities has increased demand for CRAC cooling. Lack of knowledge about the efficiency of the cooling system's behavior and efficiency has typically resulted in overcooling, primarily to prevent equipment failure, which leads to wasted energy and poor power usage effectiveness.

Vigilent Corporation, formerly Federspiel Controls, Inc., developed a data center energy management system that monitors and controls data center system cooling power consumption and cooling efficiency in real time. Vigilent, with assistance from AMO (as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act), recently demonstrated the effectiveness of intelligent energy management in eight State of California data centers. The system uses a network of wireless sensors, hardware, and software to automatically and intelligently control the data centers' cooling operation provided by air handling units (AHUs) and CRAC units.

The Vigilent system provides a visualization of the facility layout and graphical displays showing real-time thermal conditions, and the actual effect of each HVAC/AHU's operation on temperatures throughout the facility. The system analyzes and optimizes cooling by enabling dynamic adaptive cooling control and load balancing. Vigilent has successfully demonstrated its data center cooling management technology solutions at multiple high-profile sites, including Verizon as well as the State of California sites. The case study at the California sites resulted in annual energy savings of over 2.3 million kWh. Other Vigilent customers's report even larger savings at their installations.

  2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Energy Savings (Trillion Btu) 0.003 0.005 0.008 0.010 0.246
Emissions Reductions
(Thousand Tons)
Carbon 0.050 0.101 0.151 0.201 4.827
NOx 0.000 0.001 0.001 0.002 0.040
SOx 0.001 0.001 0.002 0.002 0.053
Particulates 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.001

Vigilent Data Center Management Technology

Overview

  • Developed by Vigilent Corporation, formerly Federspiel Controls, Inc.
  • Commercialized in 2007.
  • Distributed and marketed by Vigilent.
  • Installed at numerous customer sites worldwide.

Applications

Can be used to monitor and control data center cooling in real time.

Capabilities

  • Provides monitoring, visualization, analysis, and feedback control of data center facility AHUs and CRAC units.
  • Provides predictive maintenance, energy usage optimization, and future facility expansion analysis capabilities.
  • Provides secure web-based interface for remote access.

Benefits

Installation

Provides simple nondisruptive installation and retrofits into existing data center equipment.

Reliability

Improves cooling system effectiveness, extends equipment lifetime, and protects data center from damaging over-temperature events.

Scalability

Provides a modular system, which can be expanded to accommodate increased data center capacity.

Contact Information

Pam Crowley
(408) 529-9655
pcrowley@vigilent.com
Vigilent Corporation