Data Centers

Data Centers

Data centers consume about 70 billion kWh of electricity per year in the United States, close to 2% of the nation’s electricity use. Their demand continues to surge as the use of applications such as artificial intelligence, Internet of things, autonomous vehicles, and virtual reality grows. By improving energy efficiency, the Data Centers sector could save billions in both costs and kWh of energy.

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Featured Solutions

This toolkit addresses specific barriers and solutions for energy management in 5 primary data center types, including real-world examples for each. It collects guidance, factsheets, best practices, and other resources based on the work of DOE's Better Buildings Data Center Accelerator.
Sabey Data Centers partnered with Big Bend Community College to develop a Data Center Training Program that prepares students for the Information Technology and facility management jobs critical to successfully maintaining data centers.
In order to maintain the facility's net-zero energy status, NREL improved the efficiency of the Research Support Facility's data center by upgrading outdated IT equipment, consolidating blade centers, and improving the metering system among other best practices. As a result, the data center achieved an 84% reduction in PUE.
The National Energy Research Scientific Computing (NERSC) Center at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory outgrew its former data center space and underwent a retro-commissioning process to meet the data center's growing needs.
The purpose of this brief guide is to present opportunities for small data center owners and operators that generally make sense and do not need expensive assessment and analysis to justify. 

Other Resources

FAQ

Read how the Better Buildings Challenge a voluntary leadership initiative is bringing together leading CEOs and executives of U.S. companies, universities, school districts, multifamily residential organizations, and state and local government to make a public commitment to energy efficiency. 

Fact Sheet

Leading CEOs and executives of U.S. companies, universities, school districts, multifamily organizations, and state and local government are taking the Better Buildings Challenge to reduce energy use across their building portfolios by 20 percent in 10 years.

Guidance

This guide intends to help data center owners and operators implement a metering system that allows their organizations to gather the necessary data for effective decision-making and energy-efficiency improvements.
Presentation slides from Data Centers: Key Considerations presentation given at the NASA Net-Zero Energy workshop June 5-6, 2012.

Implementation Models

At multi-tenant data centers, customers' needs and equipment vary, making the implementation of hot aisle containment complicated and potentially costly. Sabey requires hot aisle containment from their Intergate Quincy facility customers, while ensuring Sabey maintains ample flexibility in deploying the containment.
To achieve and maintain lasting operational efficiency at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing (NERSC) Center, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) developed a sophisticated data analytics (ODA) system – Operations Monitoring and Notification Infrastructure (OMNI) to provide key operational insights about the data centers performance and energy efficiency.

Presentations

Data center managers are increasingly looking to renewable forms of energy to power their operations. This presentation gives an overview of types of renewable energy, avenues for assistance in developing renewable projects, and ways to evaluate the financial feasibility of renewable energy projects.
IT equipment can be a significant driver for energy use in data centers. This presentation describes new trends and advancements in IT energy efficiency that can help data center managers cut energy costs.
Intelligent metering is a prerequisite to effectively managing energy use in data centers. This presentation details metering options for different data center configurations to help facilities managers calculate their data centers' power usage effectiveness.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) boasts the most energy efficient data center in the world. This presentation describes the data center, its energy efficient features, and how it was built.
This presentation from the Data Center World Conference looks at the holistic approach taken by the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in designing the world's most energy efficient data center.
This presentation addresses the barriers associated with challenging a business-as-usual approach where energy efficiency often takes a back seat to concerns about reliability.
This presentation addresses the challenges encountered while implementing energy efficiency improvements in existing data centers within multi-use buildings. 
PUE Baselining: Methods and Resources 2015 Better Buildings Summit
In this presentation, DOE provided an overview of PUE baselining strategies that address various challenges reported by Better Buildings Challenge and Accelerator partners.
Learn how industry leaders are driving energy and cost savings through a range of solutions. Presentations include summaries of specific technological changes and/or improvements through consolidation and the tangible financial and environmental benefits they produced.
This training introduced federal, state, and local participants to the highlights of eProject Builder, DOE's national database for recording and managing Energy Savings Performance Contracting (ESPC) projects.
Participants learned how DOE's 50001 Ready and Superior Energy Performance 50001 programs can help them achieve their long-term energy management goals.
This session highlighted projects that have been able to achieve significant energy and water savings through technologies and innovative strategies.
This session featured strategies for aligning goals and activities to enable action around energy efficiency among multiple actors, including property management teams with their real estate clients and landlords with their commercial and federal tenants.
This session showcased owner and manager building construction and retrofit experiences while experts from DOE's Envelope Research Team highlighted the newest, promising energy-saving technologies, including dynamic windows, liquid flashing and primer-less air sealants, and integrated wall systems.
As organizations continue to invest in more powerful IT equipment, data center server racks are packing in ever-higher electrical loads. Liquid cooling is a way to handle these higher loads more efficiently. This session explored the possibilities for liquid cooling in the data center industry. Better Buildings partners shared their insights on implementing liquid cooling in their data centers.
Attendees learned about Better Buildings partners' successes in consolidating their data centers and finding savings.
This session highlighted Better Buildings partner successes in improving the infrastructure of small data centers embedded within larger multi-use buildings, or, when that is not possible, the process of decommissioning them and consolidating the IT resources to larger facilities.
This session showcased Better Buildings partners who are pushing the boundaries of environmental conditioning in data centers.
This session focused on cutting edge HVAC solutions Better Buildings partners have implemented in data centers that may be applicable in other building types as well.
This session highlighted success stories from Better Buildings partners that have reduced operating costs in their data centers by taking advantage of on-site and off-site renewable energy opportunities.

Reports

The purpose of this brief guide is to present opportunities for small data center owners and operators that generally make sense and do not need expensive assessment and analysis to justify. 
This report documents the methodology used to procure, construct, and operate an energy-efficient data center suitable for a net-zero-energy-use building - NREL's Research Support Facility.  
This report explores air management best practices in small data centers under 5,000 square feet. Good air management in data centers is not only imperative for energy efficiency but also for managing the thermal environment and ensuring equipment reliability.
This report estimates historical data center electricity consumption back to 2000, relying on previous studies and historical shipment data, and forecasts consumption out to 2020 based on new trends and the most recent data available.

Showcase Projects

By requiring customers to utilize hot aisle containment and by installing variable and efficient infrastructure, Sabey was able to achieve Energy Star certification for this data center with a perfect score of 100, and a 57% reduction in energy use.
As part of Sprint's Network Vision Plan, efficiency upgrades at this Kansas City building included HVAC variable frequency drive upgrades, lighting management system and external LED lighting improvements, and DC rectifier upgrades with an expected 7% savings.
The total cost of this data center retrofit was $750,000 ($342,000 for VSD equipment; $69,000 for VSD installation; $339,000 for Harmonic Transformers). The upgrades led to an annual energy savings of 4,363,000 kWh, and a reduction in the actual PUE of 1.71 to 1.59.  
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) completed the Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF), a new 182,000-square-foot LEED Platinum research facility that includes high bay and laboratory space, office space for about 220 staff, and an ultra-efficient high performance computing (HPC) data center.
Located in Northern Virginia, this one Megawatt capacity data center was built in 2007 and is operated by an agency within the Department of Justice. Various HVAC and chiller setting adjustments didn't come with a cost but brought 46% savings in PUE-1.
Intuit undertook steps to reduce the energy intensity at the Quincy data center, including adjusting set points on the chilled water and implementing "chimneys" to better control the flow of air around the server racks. These measures found a 21% savings in energy.
Schneider Electric sought a 30-50% reduction in data center operations costs attributed to energy consumption, so it consolidated one primary legacy data center and multiple distributed data centers into a modern facility that offered greater reliability and energy efficiency.
In order to maintain the facility's net-zero energy status, NREL improved the efficiency of the Research Support Facility's data center by upgrading outdated IT equipment, consolidating blade centers, and improving the metering system among other best practices. As a result, the data center achieved an 84% reduction in PUE.
The National Energy Research Scientific Computing (NERSC) Center at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory outgrew its former data center space and underwent a retro-commissioning process to meet the data center's growing needs.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s (LBNL) enterprise data center used for in-house needs and scientific computing, was rebuilt in the mid-1990s and has continued to undergo a series of transitions and energy efficiency upgrades to meet increased demand.

Solution at a Glance

Sabey Data Centers partnered with Big Bend Community College to develop a Data Center Training Program that prepares students for the Information Technology and facility management jobs critical to successfully maintaining data centers.

Video

Dave Breland of Intuit talks about his company's strategies for achieving their Better Buildings goal.

Webinars

Watch this webinar to learn how Better Buildings Challenge and Accelerator partners have formed partnerships within their organizations and implemented measures to dramatically reduce data center energy usage.
This webinar focused on how small data centers can develop air management best practices and see a reduction in infrastructure energy costs.
This webinar featured state, local, and commercial sector partners sharing best practices on energy data management, and also introduced DOE's Energy Data Management Guide.
The Green Lease Leaders program shines a spotlight on innovative landlord and tenant companies that add energy efficiency and sustainability clauses to their leases. This webinar recognized the 2019 Green Lease Leaders who are pushing the envelope on building performance and energy-aligned leasing.
This webinar explained why small data centers shouldn't be overlooked when it comes to energy efficiency, and how low-cost, high-win strategies can reduce energy demand.

Additional Information

Center of Expertise for Energy Efficiency in Data Centers
The Center of Expertise is located at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). LBNL has long been recognized by the industry as a leading source for technical expertise on energy efficiency in data centers. View their available resources, tools and trainings.

ASHRAE Paper - Thermosyphon Cooler Hybrid System for Water Savings in an Energy-Efficient HPC Data Center: Modeling and Installation
This paper describes the installation of thermosyphon cooler hybrid systems.

NREL's High-Performance Computing Data Center
View information about NREL's high-performance data center and see the center's energy efficiency dashboard as well as other technologies they have implemented.

Data Center Growth in the United States: Decoupling the Demand for Services from Electricity Use
This paper presents a bottom-up model to estimate data center electricity demand in the United States over a 20 year period and examines observed and projected electricity use trends in the context of changing data center operations.

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