Best Practices for Data Centers: Lessons Learned from Benchmarking 22 Data Centers


Over the past few years, the authors benchmarked 22 data center buildings. From this effort, we have determined that data centers can be over 40 times as energy intensive as conventional office buildings. Studying the more efficient of these facilities enabled us to compile a set of “best-practice” technologies for energy efficiency. These best practices include: improved air management, emphasizing control and isolation of hot and cold air streams; rightsizing central plants and ventilation systems to operate efficiently both at inception and as the data center load increases over time; optimized central chiller plants, designed and controlled to maximize overall cooling plant efficiency, central air-handling units, in lieu of distributed units; “free cooling” from either air-side or water-side economizers; alternative humidity control, including elimination of control conflicts and the use of direct evaporative cooling; improved uninterruptible power supplies; high-efficiency computer power supplies; on-site generation combined with special chillers for cooling using the waste heat; direct liquid cooling of racks or computers; and lowering the standby losses of standby generation systems.

Author(s): Greenberg, S., E. Mills, B.Tschudi, P. Rumsey, and B. Myatt