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New Laws Recognize Proven Efficiencies of Airflow Containment

August 21, 2014


Hostirian Cold Aisle ContainmentState and federal governments in the United States are increasingly requiring the use of airflow containment in data centers as a way to mitigate energy consumption in one of the most energy-consuming environments.

Properly managing airflow in the data center is a clear solution with proven cost benefits. When air recirculates and bypasses freely in the facility, server inlet temperatures change inadvertently, which not only damages equipment over time, but also takes away from cooling capacity. The way to alleviate this is to fully separate supply and return air with hot aisle, cold aisle, or cabinet-level containment.

California was the first U.S. state to recognize this, and the first to require high-density data centers to include some form of airflow containment in their infrastructure, through the Title 24 bill from the California Code of Regulations. 

To get to the point of drafting the new California building regulations, the state’s energy agency looked at what was happening in the industry across the country and in Europe, according to Joe Loyer, a mechanical engineer at the California Energy Commission.

“Data centers are trending towards energy efficiency not to be green, but to save money. Case in point: containment. Done with thought and planning, it absolutely works,” Loyer says. “The question is not whether containment saves energy and money, but how much money it saves and how soon the return of investment can be realized,” he adds.

The White House is also taking steps to make federal data centers more energy efficient. In March, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act, a bipartisan bill that requires commercial and federal facilities — particularly data centers — to operate more efficiently.

With so many proven cost-savings and as more end users demand proven energy efficient solutions for their data centers, it is easy to assume airflow containment will gain a lot of traction in the industry. 

For more information on CPI's Airflow Containment Solutions, go here.

Raissa Carey, eContent Specialist  


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