For Arizona colocation companies, staying green can be difficult.

Not all customer-owned servers and equipment are energy-efficient, and even those that are will throw off enough heat to increase overall cooling costs.

But green technologies are available to keep operations sustainable even when business is hot.

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Energy Monitoring

Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software gives facility managers greater insights into the colocation site’s energy usage and offers solutions to maximize equipment operating efficiency.

According to Gartner Research, DCIM can reduce a company’s operating expenses by up to 20%, making it a valuable resource that over 60% of North American data centers will use it by 2017.

Free Cooling

According to BizTech Magazine, cooling is the most significant source of power usage in data centers, and the same holds true for colocation companies.

Ensuring that expensive servers do not overheat is critical, yet densely packed equipment racks create potentially dangerous hot spots.

Colocation companies in Arizona have been focusing more on free cooling to maintain a safe operating temperature. It consumes less energy and comes in three principal forms:

  • Air-side: Outside air is filtered into the facility or brought in indirectly via heat exchangers.
  • Water-side: Water or another cooling medium, such as glycol, circulates through cooling towers instead of compressors or chillers.
  • Adiabatic: A form of air-side cooling that involves air being brought to a chamber and combined with evaporated water to cool internal temperatures.

Free cooling is effective and saves so much energy that many data centers and colocation sites are now being built without mechanical chiller plants.

Hot Aisle / Cold Aisle Design

This design is now considered an important part of best practice.

All servers and other hardware in a row of cabinets face the same direction so that cool air blows from one side while hot air is expelled on the other.

Cool air is delivered directly where needed, reducing power consumption and HVAC costs.

Rack Management

This no-cost solution works to provide cooling where it is needed the most.

Properly managing the cable setup at each rack discharge reduces recirculation.

Installing blanking panels and placing higher-density servers at low or mid-height shelves improves air management.

Controlled Lighting

Lighting control systems, working in conjunction with occupancy sensors, lower energy usage, especially in facilities that run 24/7.

When no one is in a room or area, the lights dim or go out entirely, only to re-activate when someone comes in.

Building Insulation

Arizona colocation companies now favor building designs that reflect heat and retain cool air. These include:

  • White roofs covered with a solar-reflective white coating that decreases surface temperatures by 100 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Specially insulated walls
  • Painting the building exterior a light color

Such protective measures lower cooling costs and offset CO₂ emissions by approximately five metric tons per 500 square feet.

The Bottom Line

By implementing green practices such as free cooling and hot aisle / cold aisle layouts, Arizona colocation companies can meet growing customer demand and expand without compromising energy efficiency.

 Does your colocation company use any of the strategies outlined in this post? If so, are the results positive? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments box below.

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