By Erin Weed, zColo
Kermit was right. It’s not easy being green.
Tough as it may be, we know that sustainability is incredibly important both for the environment and for maximizing operational efficiency. That’s especially true for our 59 zColo data centers, where we make continuous improvement. Our focus includes efficient power system components, environmentally friendly building materials that reduce overall power loads and free cooling that reduce or eliminate compressor chilling in colder seasons and increase efficiency during summer months.
We’re proud of our first advanced green data center. zColo’s Besancon facility in eastern France introduces state-of-the-art cooling, significantly reducing the power usage effectiveness (PUE), meeting stringent safety standards and optimizing energy efficiency.
This data center uses the Ecobreeze modular cooling solution from our partner Schneider Electric and has a PUE of 1.1. The EcoBreeze unit is designed to live outside the data center and can automatically switch between two forms of economized cooling.
Air-to-air exchange occurs when modules bring in air to the indirect evaporative cooler, then return it to the data center. However, if this form of cooling cannot be done, the air is cooled through indirect evaporative heat exchange. Evaporating water on the outside of the heat exchange channels removes heat from the air. The EcoBreeze unit in Besancon maximizes local climate conditions throughout the year to cool the facility, eliminates the environmental concerns associated with water cooling and requires no chemical water treatment.
PUTTING THE ‘COOL’ IN COOLING
According to a study from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), we’re on the right track with our approach. From an overall industry perspective, there’s an opportunity to improve energy usage by 40 percent, which could save upwards of $3.8 billion in 2016 alone. Cooling systems are the biggest culprits in terms of inefficiency.
Energy efficiency cooling systems are important not only to curb runaway power consumption but also to accommodate more computing capacity. New forms of cooling will improve the PUE significantly. We’ll monitor the results in Besancon and evaluate adopting this cooling technology in other centers across North America and Europe.