Ground Bars and Inefficiency Data Centers

Responsibly Managing Energy Consumption

The amount of power consumed by IT facilities, in particular data centers, is a topic of increasing debate in the international community. The primary reason for this is the massive quantity of green house gases produced from the generation of large amounts of non-renewable energy. Data establishments are consequently being labeled as both financially and environmentally unsustainable, and businesses are being force to more responsibly manage their energy consumption.

Ground Bars and Other Electrical Equipment

Energy entering a data center must pass thorough a series of components which can affect the energy efficiency of the center. The first component energy entering a center meets is the switchgear or switchboard device. This equipment is comprised of fuses, circuit breakers, electrical relays, and ground bars and is utilized to protect against abnormal electrical events such as surges and spikes, and to route energy throughout the center.

The routed energy is then fed to Uninterruptable Power Supplies (UPS), lights and the cooling system. From the UPS’s the energy is further distributed to power the servers, storage devices and network equipments. These steps in many data centers result in the loss of substantial amounts of electrical energy.

The first major in-center avenue of energy loss is the UPS devices, which generally require the transfer of electricity from Alternating Current (AC) to Direct Current (DC) in order to charge a battery. This energy transfer depending on the device and ground bars can be relatively sizable, and when coupled with the energy required to consistently run and cool UPS components, it can quickly add up.

Lights are another often unnoticed cause of energy inefficiency within data installations. Lighting often only accounts for approximately 5 percent of a data center’s energy consumption however, every small saving counts, and center lighting is an easy way to conserve power. Many data centers are also vastly over lit, and can consequently benefit from intelligent lighting control, such as dimmers and occupancy sensors.

Cooling in comparison to lighting consumes a vast amount of electricity, with many experts estimating that at least 60 to 70 percent of the energy consumed by data centers is utilized to cool components. Cooling is therefore one of the first sectors tackled when a data center attempts to better manage their electrical energy.

Data installations, depending upon their size and financial status, can go about altering their cooling system in very different ways. Installations that don’t have the finances or the opportunity to invest in new cooling technologies, can improve their energy consumption by simply rearranging the floor plan of their center, which enables them to control the currents of warm and cool air. This control therefore increases cooling efficiency and reduces the amount of energy required.

Other centers, which are larger and more financially able, can implement cutting edge cooling technologies such as ‘free air cooling’, under floor cooling systems, cooling towers and liquid cooling equipment, which can substantially reduce the amount of energy utilized by the installation.

In can consequently be noted that there are numerous sectors within data center facilities where energy can be conserved. The utilization of up-to-date technology coupled with sensible energy efficient practices can save centers large amounts on their electricity bills, as well as making data centers much more environmentally sustainable. It is believed that coming advances in IT technology will further aid data centers to improve their operations.