EPA asking data centers about liquid cooling, blanking panels

by Patrick McLaughlin, Chief Editor -- Data center facilities that apply for the EnergyStar rating will also be asked if they use hot-aisle/cold-aisle setups and airside economizers.

by Patrick McLaughlin, Chief Editor July 2, 2009 --

When the Environmental Protection Agency begins granting the EnergyStar rating to data centers next year it will be asking facilities that apply for the rating if they implement such strategies as using liquid cooling within enclosures and installing blanking panels in their racks.

While it is still undetermined how much weight those and other cabling-related best practices for energy efficiency may hold in determining whether or not a data center receives the EnergyStar rating, the EPA certainly will be collecting information about such practices from facilities that apply.

Data center facilities that apply for the EnergyStar rating must complete a data-collection form, which focuses heavily on electricity consumption, cooling capacity and demand, and the consumption of other forms of energy. The final portion of the data-collection form is labeled "optional elements," and the form states the information gathered will be used for future study purposes.

That portion of the form asks an applicant to indicate whether or not their data center employs liquid cooling for IT equipment and/or racks. It also asks several questions about air-management techniques. Specifically, it asks if the data center operates the following: blanking plates in racks; hot-aisle/cold-aisle setup; computational fluid dynamics modeling, high-delta-T cooling, air-separation chambers, racks with air-management control, static pressure control, static pressure boundaries, and dynamically managed airflow.

The data collection form is available as a Microsoft Excel document at the EPA web site and can be accessed by clicking here.

EPA spokesperson Enesta Jones told Cabling Installation & Maintenance, "EPA is developing an Energy Star benchmark for entire data centers. EPA hopes to publish the new benchmark early next year. This tool will provide a 0-100 scale to assess efficiency that can be used to compare the relative efficiency of different facilities."

On the web:
EPA Energy Star for Data Centers Data Collection Form
EPA's Enterprise Server and Data Center Energy Efficiency Initiatives

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