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PG&E and Altera. Data Center Energy Efficiency Project. PG&E and Altera: A History of Energy Efficiency. After hours cooling project Chiller VFD retrofit CDA compressor replaced with VFD CDA compressor Data Center Efficiency Project. PG&E and Altera: A History of Energy Efficiency.

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PG&E and Altera

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PG&E and Altera

Data Center

Energy Efficiency Project


PG&E and Altera: A History of Energy Efficiency

  • After hours cooling project

  • Chiller VFD retrofit

  • CDA compressor replaced with VFD CDA compressor

  • Data Center Efficiency Project


PG&E and Altera: A History of Energy Efficiency

VFD CDA

Compressor Retrofit

After Hours

Cooling Project

Chiller VFD Retrofit

Project Cost: $110k

ROI: 3 years

PG&E Rebate: $15k

Annual Savings: $32k

Project Cost: $78k

ROI: 1.1 years

PG&E Rebate: $36k

Annual Savings: $39k

Project Cost: $139k

ROI: 3.8 years

PG&E Rebate: $31k Annual Savings: $29k


Altera Data Center Energy Efficiency Project Objectives

  • Keep servers between 68° and 77° F (ASHRAE)

  • Reduce energy use

  • Accommodate server growth

  • Increase server and data center reliability


Data Center Layout


Data Center Before Improvements

Portable AC unit


Two Interests Meet

  • Altera had a temporary cooling unit in place to serve a ‘hot spot’ and was looking at ways to handle planned load increases.

  • In PG&E’s territory, improving data center energy efficiency by 15% would save 100 GWh of electricity – the equivalent of powering 15,000 homes for a year or taking almost 8,000 cars off the road.


Why is Airflow a Problem in Data Centers?

  • Wasted energy

  • Wasted money

  • Less capacity

  • Less reliability


Why Do These Problems Exist?

In a typical data center…

  • Only 40% of AC air is used to cool servers

    Robert 'Dr. Bob' Sullivan, Ph.D. Uptime Institute

  • HVAC systems are 2.6 times what is actually needed

    Robert 'Dr. Bob' Sullivan, Ph.D. Uptime Institute

  • Not a big concern when power density was low but it continues to grow (about 150w/sqft)

  • The culprit: allowing hot and cold air to mix


First Step: Assess Current Situation

  • Data loggers placed in the inlet and discharge air streams of each cooling unit.

  • Four loggers placed in each cold aisle.

  • Current transformers installed on the electrical distribution circuits feeding the two roof-top condensing units.

  • Total rack kW load was recorded to establish baseline.


Findings

  • Temperature across cooling units ranged from 12° to 18°F.

  • Temperature variance of up to 14° degrees from one server to another.

  • Approximately 45 kW could be saved in theory if air flow was ideal


Second Step: Implement Ideas from Meeting with PG&E

  • ALL servers must be in hot/cold aisles (HACA)

  • Blanking plates between servers

  • Strip curtains at ends of aisles

  • Remove perforated tiles from hot aisles

  • Partitions above racks


Third Step: Altera Adopts Changes

  • APC in-row coolers installed

  • Temporary cooling unit removed

  • Blanking plates added

  • Installed strip curtains to separate the computing racks from the telecom area

  • Shutting off CRAC unit


Addition of APC IRCs’


Simple changes, big benefits


Simple Changes, big benefit


Final Measurement and Review

  • Even after Altera made all of these changes, excess cooling capacity still existed.

  • PG&E recommended shutting down a second CRAC unit, thus putting all primary cooling on chilled water units.


Altera’s New and Improved Data Center

  • Temporary mobile cooling unit gone

  • Two CRAC units shut off

  • Server temperature variance a mere 2° F

  • Net electricity reduction of 44.9 kW

  • Annual energy savings of 392.9 MWh

  • Overall energy savings: 25%


Moral of the Story?

  • Improving airflow is a safe and sensible strategy to simultaneously make data centers greener, more reliable, higher capacity, and more economical to operate.

  • To achieve results such as Altera’s, it takes teamwork between IT, Facilities, HVAC experts, and PG&E.


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