It takes a lot of energy to make your data center operate at optimal performance. That surge of electricity not only causes high bills but also leads to increased emissions that affect the environment. Large data centers use more than 30 billion kilowatt hours of electrical power in a year, and some use enough electrical energy to power thousands of homes.
For instance, an NSA data center in Utah consumes 65 megawatts of energy, which is more than enough to power 65,000 homes. In addition, it uses 1.5 million gallons of water each day just to cool the servers. No matter the size of your data center, you have to take into consideration the amount of energy you use and how you can reduce your carbon footprint.
Create a plan
Sometimes, you have to spend money to save money. Don’t let the costs deter you from implementing a green data center. Gather your energy bills and find out where you receive your energy and how your data center uses it. Use your baseline findings to calculate your return on investment after you transition to a green data center.
Improve your monitoring
Environmental conditions change both indoors and outdoors. Install interior temperature and heat monitors to know when you need to adjust your system. These monitors give you a way to check for extreme humidity levels and temperature changes, both of which affect servers and downtime. Many of these monitors also have low-power modes for reducing energy consumption.
Implement a better heating and cooling system
Your data center needs an efficient heating and cooling system, from vents and safety plates to blanking panels and floor tiles. Blanking panels insulate your cables and reduce heat loss, and safety plates separate your components and prevent heat buildup. In addition, consider evaporative cooling for your data center. It does away with air conditioning and increases your savings.
Use server virtualization
If you really want to maximize your server resources, go with server virtualization. It partitions your physical server into several virtual servers and masks the resources from the users. Software divides the physical server into various virtual environments called private servers. Server virtualization has many benefits:
- Every virtual server can run its own operating system.
- You can independently reboot virtual servers.
- It requires less hardware, which reduces overall costs.
- It conserves space.
- It utilizes resources and saves on operational costs.
- Use alternative power sources.
Along with evaporative cooling, check out other alternative energy sources. Equip your data center with solar panels. For the energy you don’t use, you can sell it back to the electric company. Research wind energy and heat pumps for an effective way to power your data center while cutting costs.
Redesign your data center
Cut the costs of electricity by implementing more natural light in your data center. Consider adding skylights and more windows. Replace your incandescent light bulbs with eco-friendly LED or CFL bulbs. These bulbs use far less energy than traditional bulbs and last more than 10 times longer. Redesign your floor plan to make the best use of the space.
Cut costs from the outside
Take a look at the U.S. Green Building Council’s new LEED certification requirements for data centers and take steps to get into compliance. Reduce your costs and help the environment by choosing to buy your parts and supplies from eco-friendly companies. If you construct new space in your data center, make sure to use eco-friendly materials, such as recycled wood and plant-based rigid foam for insulation. Invest in low-emission carpet and paint for your data center, and use drought-resistant plants in your landscaping to conserve water.
What are you doing to make your company greener?
Matt Smith works for Dell and has a passion for learning and writing about technology. Outside of work he enjoys entrepreneurship, being with his family, and the outdoors.