Businesses everywhere are going green and becoming more interested in environmentally-friendly ways to accomplish things. This can be seen all across the world, in all industries, and it has even made it into schools. Data centers are no exception. When managing a green data center, there are many different components that have to come together to reduce the environmental impact of the center itself. For example, the Green Data Center at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York, is one of the most environmentally friendly data centers that you can find in the entire world. The building looks boring and nondescript from the outside, but the advancements inside are dramatic.
One thing about green data centers is that they often have to be built in new buildings, as old ones are just too outdated to support the technologies that are going to be used. In some cases, these outdated building may be hindering the efficiency of the data center as a whole, so it is actually worth it to relocate. Construction is never great for the environment, but these new structures will actually be better for the environment in the long run than continuing to limp along in older buildings.
Advanced Cooling Systems
Many data centers rely on standard heating and cooling systems, which use a lot of energy and tend to be very wasteful. The servers produce a lot of heat when they are running, and using forced air to cool them down is not a good way to do things. As a result, a green data center is going to have a special cooling unit installed – the one at Syracuse stands out on the roof of the building – that is designed to efficiently cool the servers. Older technologies that were designed to cool people and spaces just cannot keep up with the demand.
Going Off of the Grid
Another interesting thing that is often done is that a green data center will run completely off of the electrical grid. Rather than hooking up to the city’s electrical system, generators will be brought in that run off of things like natural gas. These generators were originally used just to back up the data center in case there was a power outage and the grid failed. These days, a handful of efficient generators are enough to keep the entire center running so they only have to switch over to the grid if there is a problem.
One of the largest impacts of this is that energy conversions are not needed. The grid is going to use AC power at a high voltage. A computer, however, has to run on DC power at a low voltage. This means that a traditional data center has to convert all of the electricity that comes into the building so that it can be used at all. A lot of energy is wasted during this process. The generators, however, can be set up to produce exactly the type of energy that is needed, taking the conversion out of the equation and saving as much as 10 percent on energy costs.
Using All Energy
Finally, the trademark of a green data center is wasting nothing. The center should use heat-capture systems that take the heat from the exhaust that is created by the natural gas generators, which are creating the electricity, and use that heat to produce hot water. This energy would have been wasted otherwise, so this is essentially “free” hot water. Systems like this allow all of the energy to be used so that there is less waste and less need for fuel.
William Stevens is a writer who creates informative articles in relation to technology. In this article, he describes how to manage a green data center and aims to encourage further study with a masters of engineering management online.