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Data Center Sustainability

There are an estimated 3 million data centers in the U.S. alone — one for roughly every 100 people. These facilities are significant energy users, requiring a steady stream of power to support the technologies they house as well as to keep all of that equipment from overheating. According to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, U.S. data centers consumed about 100 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2013, more than 2 percent of all U.S. electricity use that year. And the usage is increasing. The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects energy use in data centers to increase five-fold by 2040.

Given these statistics, it’s no surprise that increasing data center sustainability has been a big topic in the industry.

Increasing Data Center Sustainability

There is a sustainable way to reduce the emissions created from cooling these data centers and improve efficiency. By reducing the amount of energy needed to maintain the facility, evaporative cooling improves a data center’s power usage effectiveness, or PUE, ratio — a standard measure of how efficiently the facility uses energy. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, PUE values for data centers vary widely, with the overall average around 1.8. and those focusing on efficiency typically achieving PUE values of 1.2 or less. In its data center applications, under optimal conditions, air handling units equipped with Kuul® have seen 1.1 PUE.

Data centers have rigorous demands for their cooling systems. Cooling is mission-critical for data centers and must be available and reliable 24/7/365. The facilities frequently experience fast start-ups and fluctuations in demand. They also must adhere to strict fire codes and provide a clean air supply free of dust that could impact the computing and network equipment inside. Fast start-ups and changes in demand use an exuberant amount of energy.

Still, there are ways to reduce the amount of energy a data center pulls in by implementing a fixed evaporative cooling system, such as moving to ASHRAE allowable temperature ranges with direct evaporative cooling.

Evaporative Cooling Options

Image of a sustainable data center that has green accents, with a plethora of grass and trees next to it. When customizing an evaporative cooling system for a data center, it is essential to design the system to be flame retardant and withstand the market’s higher velocities without bowing or bending.

Additionally, it is crucial to select evaporative media for the system with superior water absorption properties and saturation efficiency. This element allows the evaporative media to respond rapidly and provide the enhanced cooling performance required in a data center environment. Kuul offers specifically designed evaporative media to meet the needs of these challenging environments.

Kuul Evolution™ evaporative media is a premier line of specialized evaporative media that provides enhanced cooling performance and reduced pressure drop due to the choice of materials, design process, and proprietary manufacturing technique.

Kuul evaporative media can absorb as much as five times its weight in water, enabling efficient transfer of water molecules, the basis of good evaporative cooling technology. Media with very low pressure drop coupled with excellent cooling performance drives down the PUE.

Kuul Evolution Firepro DE’s cutting-edge drift eliminators certify that droplet carry-over is never a problem. Drift elimination ensures the air leaving the air handling unit remains clean and free from entrained water-mineral dust. With high-performing drift eliminators, facility operators may switch on cooling pumps at maximum system airflows without the risk of water entrainment. This provides the benefit of allowing higher velocities, which means air handling units can be more compact.

Data Center Sustainability Considerations

Data center fast start-ups and changes in demand strain standard air conditioning systems, which typically take a while to ramp up to full cooling capacity. Evaporative cooling is a much faster and natural process – cooling air immediately without a unique need for extra power. Overall, evaporative cooling technology provides an effective and sustainable solution for data center environments.

For more insights explore Data Center cooling best practices.

Sustainable Data Center Cooling Options

Increase efficiency and lower your data center's environmental impact with evaporative cooling options from Kuul.

Explore Sustainable Data Center Cooling