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March 2012 -
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How can implementing new cooling technologies like air-side economization and evaporative cooling help managers save energy?
Air-side economization and evaporative cooling are great techniques for exchanging the heat generated from IT equipment of a data center. Implementation of said techniques in an existing facility presents significant logistical challenges and requires the analysis of mechanical engineers and architects. Retrofitting an existing infrastructure requires a significant capital investment and sustaining operations while possible equipment replacements requires commitment from senior management and the strict method of procedure doctrines — a project not for the faint of heart. Data center managers must be aware of local environmental factors when applying air-side economization ranging from degree day frequency, air-borne pollutants, security and structural feasibility. Evaporative cooling technology, a very efficient means of heat exchange, consumes significant domestic water to account for evaporation processes. The source of make-up water must be thoroughly assessed to confirm reliable sources and redundancy which is dependent on the users’ critical load criteria. A means of providing water storage is prudent if the IT infrastructure is deemed highly critical to revenue — buyer beware water storage consumes significant real estate for extended hours of backup.
Answers provided by Paul Mihm, PE, executive vice president, Rubicon Professional Services
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