Data centers are energy-intensive operations and their power demand continues to rise as our reliance on digital services grows. According to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), data centers consumed about 200 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity globally in 2019, equivalent to about 1% of total electricity consumption worldwide. This number is projected to increase significantly without a concerted effort to improve energy efficiency.
The high-energy consumption of data centers has both financial and environmental implications. High utility bills can eat into a company’s bottom line, while the carbon footprint of data centers contributes to climate change. There are multiple ways facilities management can address these challenges. Here are just a few ways a proactive facilities management team, like the one at Vanguard Resources, will help your data center run efficiently.
Facilities Management’s Role in Energy Efficiency
- Design and Maintenance of Cooling Systems: Efficient cooling is essential for data centers as servers generate a substantial amount of heat. Good facilities managers will optimize the design and maintenance of cooling systems to ensure they operate at peak efficiency. Reducing energy consumption may involve using advanced cooling techniques, such as hot and cold aisle containment, free cooling or liquid cooling.
- Energy Monitoring and Management: Facilities managers can implement sophisticated energy monitoring systems to track energy usage in real time. By analyzing this data, they can promptly identify areas where energy is wasted and implement corrective measures. Predictive maintenance can also help prevent equipment failures and energy inefficiencies.
- Server Virtualization and Consolidation: Facilities management works closely with IT teams to implement server virtualization and consolidation strategies. These approaches involve running multiple virtual servers on a single physical machine, reducing the number of servers needed and energy consumption.
- Energy-Efficient Equipment: Procuring energy-efficient servers and IT equipment is another critical aspect of facilities management. Choosing equipment with higher energy efficiency ratings, such as ENERGY STAR-certified devices, can significantly reduce energy consumption over time.
- Renewable Energy Integration: Facilities managers can explore opportunities to integrate renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind power, into the data center’s energy mix. This not only reduces carbon emissions, but can also lead to long-term cost savings.
- Energy-Efficient Building Design: In the early stages of data center planning, facilities management can collaborate with architects and engineers to ensure the building’s design maximizes energy efficiency. Location, insulation and building orientation can all impact energy consumption.
- Employee Training and Awareness: Educating data center staff about energy efficiency best practices is crucial. Facilities managers can organize training sessions and promote a culture of energy conservation among employees.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Energy efficiency in data centers is an environmental concern and a significant cost-saving opportunity. Facilities management is pivotal in driving energy-efficient practices within data centers, reducing operational costs and environmental impact.
By optimizing cooling systems, implementing energy monitoring, promoting server virtualization, procuring energy-efficient equipment, integrating renewable energy sources, designing energy-efficient buildings and fostering employee awareness, facilities managers can make a substantial contribution to the sustainability and profitability of data centers.
In an era where data centers are the backbone of our digital world, facilities management must make these facilities more energy-efficient, cost-effective and environmentally responsible. In doing so, we can ensure that the digital infrastructure supporting our modern lives is as sustainable as it is indispensable. Outsourcing your facilities management to Vanguard can give you peace of mind that your data center is both environmentally sustainable and efficient.