Data centers and energy savings

Some advice on how to save energy in data centers to achieve net-zero energy.


One of the best ways to achieve energy savings in computing is to reduce the amount of IT equipment. Server virtualization is a popular and effective way to eliminate a large number of underused physical servers while providing the same level of service with a small number of highly used servers.

In a data center, there is opportunity to reduce HVAC energy by employing row containment strategies to reduce the mixing of cool supply air with hot exhaust air. In-rack cooling solutions offer even greater savings by reducing the volume of conditioned space from the entire data center to the inside of the racks.

From the end-user perspective, desktop computers should be replaced with energy-efficient laptops. Some facilities have eliminated hardwire Ethernet and use wireless for end-use devices instead. This eliminates networking equipment that would otherwise consume energy 24/7.

Scotte Elliott is an electrical engineer and energy specialist at Metro CD Engineering in Powell, Ohio. He is a Certified Energy Manager, a NABCEP Certified PV Installation Professional, and past division chair of the American Solar Energy Society.

See more advice on net-zero energy design as well as some examples of net-zero energy buildings below.

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