It’s National Water Saving Week and it may surprise you to know that the UK has less available water per person than most other European countries (according to Waterwise.org), in fact in some parts of the UK we have less available water than some African countries.
As a result of climate change, population increases and changes in lifestyle, water is becoming a more valuable resource and will continue to do so in the future. Current water consumption levels are leading to an increased scrutiny over how data centres effectively utilise water and the amount of wastewater produced.
Water consumption is the second biggest natural resource concern, behind power, facing Data Centres.
Server equipment generates a lot of hot exhaust air, a common cooling method is using heat exchangers and evaporative coolers. Data centres that utilise cooling towers create wastewater during the blowdown process (removal of solids and liquids from water systems), they do so when the system purges the water holding the sediment. Evaporation and blowdown are processes commonly found around the Data Centre environment and are a common cause for wasting water. These processes are regularly found due to the typical methods of cooling used throughout the industry.
This is the reason why data centres lose so much water and why alternative methods need to be sought if we are going to face the increasing water shortage.
Methods to reduce water usage:
- Increase running temperatures - lower loads on cooling technology
- Room sealing - maintaining humidity levels
- Raising humidity - lowering the requirement of humidity control will reduce water usage, this will need to be done in-line with the ASHRAE guidelines
- Recycled water - using wastewater to cool data centres (may need to be treated before use).
As data centre’ cooling is responsible for the majority of energy consumption in any facility, getting the correct solution to ensure ultimate efficiency is the goal of most data centre professionals. Fortunately, there are multiple energy efficient cooling systems available to satisfy most requirements, but the key deciding factor will be the level of energy efficiency they provide.
Evaporative cooling is nature’s method to cool, it is the system your body uses to cool down and certainly the most sustainable, and environmentally friendly system by far.
So how does it work? Evaporative free air cooling technology makes use of the external air to cool the data centre environment, unlike simple air economisers which require supplemental or chilled water when external temperatures reach 21C, Evaporative Systems engage the cooling mechanism by simply passing the airflow through wet filter pads.
So what is so good about it? The primary benefit is the drastically reduced power consumption in comparison to more traditional systems, in fact the well-known FreeCool® Evaporative data centre cooling system delivers typical power consumption reduction of 90% compared to some traditional mechanical systems, delivering typical PUE3 of 1.15 or lower.
Other primary benefits include: –
– Reduced CO2 emissions
– Significantly reduced energy consumption and operating costs
– Supports existing cooling technologies
– Improved DCiE / PUE ** Efficiency Ratings
– Improved company “Green Credentials”
– Improved resilience with practical support by UPS systems
– Flexible airflow configuration options
– Modular, Scalable Architecture
– Can be deployed as a new scheme or retro-fitted to existing data centres.
In practical terms, the benefits above not only allow for robust operational advantages but also provide sound commercial and financial benefits allowing users to take advantage of significantly reduced cost overheads.
There are of course other cooling systems that provide some great innovations, and Evaporative Cooling is not a solution that will suit all applications or preferences, but it certainly can be described as the greenest solution on the market today.