Data Center Cooling 101: Eight Steps for Fan Energy Efficiency in Data Centers

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As more and more data centers, labs, and telecommunication facilities implement energy efficient cooling solutions such as evaporative cooling it is important to address the fan energy that is being used in the distribution equipment.  There are several best practices recommended by ASHRAE for energy optimization.  Below are eight of ASHRAE’s TC 9.9 recommendations for improving fan energy efficiency:

  1. The supply and return air distribution systems should be designed with minimal pressure drop.  Two ways in which this can be easily achieved are through decreasing the pathway distances and decreasing any restrictions to the airflow.
  2. One of the best ways to minimize the amount of  fan energy needed to deliver the appropriate air flow is by maintaining a high temperature differential across any heat exchangers that are associated with the fans.
  3. The third step is a relatively simple solution but sometimes overlooked one for optimizing fan energy.  Basically, it comes down to appropriate fan selection.  This is determined by selecting a fan that has high efficiency at the expected operating conditions.
  4. Another very practical way to optimize fan energy consumption in the data center is to reduce the horsepower required by selecting premium-efficiency motors.
  5. Low pressure drop filters are recommended in order to improve energy efficiency.
  6. Maintenance, Maintenance, Maintenance.  Too often this simple step is overlooked with regards to maintaining the filters.
  7. The equipment that is being used to provide the data center cooling should implement variable frequency drives for the fans.
  8. The eighth solution for improving fan energy efficiency is to implement efficient airflow distribution techniques.*

When implementing an energy efficient cooling solution on your next data center contact to take advantage of  “The Design Assist Program for the Application of Energy Efficient Cooling Solutions to Data CentersTM.

*Eight Steps Adapted from:  American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. (2008). Best practices for Datacom Facility Energy Efficiency. Atlanta, GA: American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers.