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Sealing Gaps on Equipment Racks Can Lead to Energy Savings

27th, July 2016

Today the majority of data centre operators understand the efficiency benefits gained by fitting blanking panels and floor sealing grommets in order to prevent loss of cold air and re-circulation of hot exhaust air around equipment racks.

Bottom of Rack Gaps

However one area that very often gets neglected is the small gap that can commonly be found at the bottom of the equipment racks which is a result of the lowering of adjustable stability feet. These gaps are typically overlooked and left unsealed because of their inconspicuous location. Whilst these gaps may only be 10mm to 15mm they can potentially lead to reduced operating efficiency and increased data centre running costs.

Often overlooked these small gaps between the bottom of the equipment racks and the raised access floor will have a negative impact on equipment inlet temperatures. This hot air leakage will create hotspots which can ultimately lead to potential degradation of IT equipment. In order to compensate and re-balance the cold aisle temperature data centre operators very often reduce CRAC air off operating temperatures.

Top of Rack Ventilation & Access

In addition to low level gaps, many equipment racks are also supplied with ventilation and cable access holes located on the top panel. Whilst these access holes are useful for cable management purposes they can also contribute to additional hot air re-circulation entering into the cold aisle dependent on the aisle containment arrangement. As with the bottom of rack gaps these holes are also inconspicuous and can easily be overlooked.

Sealing Systems

Sealing both the bottom and top gaps/holes within the equipment racks creates opportunities to improve the overall airflow efficiency of a data centre. CFD analysis can clearly reveal the impact of sealing these small gaps i.e. reducing cold aisle temperatures as a direct result of the elimination of hot exhaust re-circulation air.

By improving the overall airflow efficiency, cooling system temperature set points can be increased, fan operating speeds will reduce and effective cooling capacity will be increased.

Workspace Technology can offer a range of bespoke and standard cabinet accessories designed to improve rack cooling efficiency through the prevention of air re-circulation and by reducing bypass airflow.

Airflow Management Blanking Panels promote proper airflow within a rack enclosure by occupying unused space, brush strips provide a barrier to airflow, while allowing cables to be passed from the front to the rear and through the top of the rack.

Combining sealing systems with correctly designed aisle containment will help save significant energy costs, when designed and installed correctly a combination of aisle containment and rack sealing systems will typically pay back within an 18 to 24 month period.

For more information on Workspace Technology’s range of aisle containment, rack sealing systems and data centre technology please contact sales@workspace-technology.com or call 0121 354 4894.

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