Free Cooling Technology: Why would a data centre need free cooling?
Here at ICS Cool Energy, we will be taking you through some data centre best practices to help advise on how to maintain productivity, improve power usage effectiveness (PUE), reduce energy expenditure and eliminate the risk of downtime. This post, we will be focusing on free cooling technology best practice and how it can benefit a data centre in practice.
Free cooling is an effective method of data centre cooling which allows for a chiller to utilise cold external air to assist in the cooling of water for an industrial or HVAC process. This technology can work throughout the year, automatically switching into partial free cooling mode if temperatures are 1˚C below the process return water temperature and full free cooling when they are 3˚C – 5˚C below.
Types of free cooling
There are two free cooling options currently available, seeing the application of either, an integral free cooling coil or a chiller which works alongside a free cooler unit. Integral chillers are ideal for sites which have limited space and can offer high energy efficiency levels. These units feature high quality components including scroll and screw compressors, axial fans and 3-way modulating valves.
An independent free cooler has a greater capacity for heat exchange as it is sized to maximise efficiency, enabling a greater area for the transfer of thermal energy. Independent free coolers have shown energy savings of up to 70% at some of our customers’ sites with the technology applicable to both new and existing chillers.
Data Centre Case Study: Cork Internet Exchange- Ireland
To reduce energy expenditure on cooling and improve PUE for a data centre which is running 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.
- Two external integral free cooling chillers were installed on the roof of the data centre
- The chillers worked alongside the internal computer room air conditioning units (CRAC) allowing the data centre to utilise low external air temperatures to cool the chilled water for the CRACs
- Thanks to Ireland’s average low temperatures of around 11˚C, the mechanical cooling (compressors) could run for approximately 3,000 hours per year with the remaining 5,760 hours just using the pumps and fans of the free cooling units
The free cooling technology saved significant energy costs and achieved a PUE (power usage effectiveness) of approximately 1.15
Free Cooling Saves €’s for Irish Data Centre – Watch the Video below
Free Cooling Benefits
- Extends the life expectancy of a chiller
- Utilises cold, outside air which is free
- Reduces operating hours of the compressor
- Reduces overall power costs/usage
- The free cooling system can run automatically when required, saving energy on full and partial loads without the need for manual intervention or configuration
- Payback for a system can be as little as 12 months
- Energy savings can be a much as 70%
For a market sector that depends on temperature control to maintain continual productivity all day, every day such as the data centres industry, free cooling technology is an ideal solution…
- Energy savings are guaranteed – especially in areas with naturally cool temperatures/climates
- The risk of downtime is significantly reduced thanks to the free cooling automatically kicking in when temperatures are low enough
- The high energy savings allow for low PUEs to be achieved
If you would like to know more about free cooling technology and precise air conditioning for data centres download our brochures here.