Contemporary Switchgear Power Systems and Data Center Energy Efficiency

Companies, especially those in the Information Technology (IT) industry, are currently facing increased pressure and criticism regarding energy utilization within their data centers. This pressure is only expected to increase due to the exponential growth of awareness regarding issues such as: the increase in greenhouse gas emissions as a product of data centers energy utilization; and the pressure that data centers place on already overloaded power grids.

Many companies are consequently struggling to reduce their energy consumption, implementing various different measures ranging from simply monitoring their energy utilization, installing switchgear power systems, to complete data center component and design overhauls. Such measures have so far been extremely effective, with the American Environmental Protection Agency estimating that current energy conservation practices save over 10 billion kilowatt hours per year, or 800 million dollars, when compared to traditional power management methods.

switchgear power systems in Data Centers

Although current procedures for reducing data center energy consumption are effective when utilized, many companies are unable or unwilling to put energy saving measures into effect. Is believed some of barriers holding companies back from achieving optimal energy efficiency within their data centers are:

  • The lack of global standards and knowledge regarding what exactly constitutes an energy efficient data center.
  • The need for data centers to avoid downtime which may stem from any changes made.
  • The distinction between those responsible for paying energy bills and those who purchase IT equipment.

The lack of a standard measure regarding what constitutes an energy efficient data center is believed by some environmental groups to be the major issues slowing the ‘green’ data center movement. The term energy efficient generally refers to maximum output with minimum energy input however; there are currently no standard measures for output in relation to data centers. This therefore makes it impossible to compare different facilities and assess their efficiency, which in turn means that centers may not be aware that they are energy inefficient.

Efficient switchgear power systems

The need for data centers to avoid downtime is also causing companies to drag their feet when it comes to energy efficient practices. Many energy efficient measures suggested by environmental institutes such as the Environmental Protection Agency involve component or floor layout changes, which can interrupt services for unacceptable lengths of time. A lot of facilities consequently choose to delay major changes, as many existing centers are reaching the end of their finite lifetime, after which companies can build new, inherently more energy efficient facilities. A diminutive number of smaller companies however, do choose to risk downtime, and undertake renovations and install switchgear power systems.

The distinction between those that purchase IT components and those that pay the energy bills can also be a real issue in many companies. This is owing to the fact that both parties are generally uninformed and as such, make uninformed choices regarding equipment purchases. Data center technicians, when not involved in the bill paying process, also have little incentive to move toward ‘greener’ technology, with many green technologies such as ‘green servers’ seen as less powerful from a productivity point of view.

It can consequently be noted that there are numerous barriers standing between modern data centers and energy efficient operation. It is believed however, that rising energy prices and increasing pressure from the general public regarding factors such as greenhouse gas emissions, will force data centers to push through these issues.