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Do Data Centers Have a Reason to Celebrate Earth Day?

April 21, 2010

CPI TeraFrame Cabinet with Vertical Exhaust DuctTomorrow is Earth Day. Chances are you already knew that, but then again, maybe you didn’t. Quite honestly I knew it was coming up but I had to turn to my pal Google to find out just what day it falls on this year. As it turns out, tomorrow is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.

It seems like everywhere I turn I see eco-friendly messages whether it is the magazines I read, the commercials that interrupt American Idol, or the water bottle that is sitting next to my keyboard that claims “New Eco-Air Bottle , 50% Less Plastic”. I know that here at Chatsworth Products we are always looking for ways to improve energy efficiency, reduce packaging, etc. but as I was scanning the headlines of one of my favorite emails this morning I perked up when I read, “Earth Day: A Day for Data Centers to Celebrate”. That got my attention. Why should our power-hungry data centers celebrate? As it turns out I was a bit premature in looking for my party hat.

The author, Jeffrey Clark of Data Center Journal, reminded readers of the huge amount of power needed to feed the steadily increasing demand for computing, networking, and data storage services. He goes on to say that running a server doesn’t produce pollution or waste, but generating the electricity to run that server (not to mention keep it cool) often produces waste—whether radioactive by-products from a nuclear reactor or emissions from the burning of coal or natural gas. In addition, these energy sources (radioactive materials and fossil fuels) must be mined, leading to various potential environmental hazards. Even hydroelectric power from dams can take a heavy toll on aquatic ecosystems through the release of heated water into rivers and lakes.

However, he did mention these positive points:

  • Data centers do not by themselves produce noxious emissions or wastes that are dumped into landfills or water supplies
  • Efforts at data center efficiency have resulted in the 2010 Green Grid consortium’s announcement of an agreement between various industry and government groups from around the world on a standard metric for measuring the efficiency of a data center
  • The EPA has instituted energy performance ratings for data centers under its Energy Star program

He goes on to say that some companies are genuinely making an effort to improve their actual environmental impact. Some methods include:

  • Wind PowerIncreasing reliance on renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power
  • Improving the efficiency of IT and infrastructure equipment
  • Reducing overall energy consumption
  • Reducing energy demands for cooling by increasing operating temperatures and by relying more on outside air in place of cooled air

CPI has helped many companies implement several of these methods, which resulted in reduced power consumption. One way we do this is with CPI Passive Cooling®, a simple but highly effective process that distills data center cooling down to one thing – keeping hot exhaust air out of the room and from mixing with cool intake air. We also work with KyotoCooling which promotes a cooling system that uses a rotary wheel type of condenser to cool data center air without using a compressor. Additionally, we offer a line of power management products and software for real-time power monitoring and reporting across the entire enterprise all the way down to the device level.

Are you ready to take some steps to a more earth-friendly data center? Contact us and find out how we can help. CPI’s consulting group can talk with you about your particular needs. In the meantime, get out your party hat and go plant a tree. Kim Ream, Sr. eCommerce Specialist

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