Reducing your computer room energy consumption can help cut down on organizational expenses and improve your bottom line

Computer rooms and data centers pack a lot of processing power into a compact environment. However, these rooms also use a lot of energy and create a substantial amount of heat for the office buildings they’re in. As a result, organizations all over the country are paying significantly more money to run their IT equipment than they should be. 

There are some ways to reduce computer room energy consumption, though, if you’re motivated to do so. 

Here’s a look at six methods businesses can use to lower energy consumption and costs when operating an on-site computer room.

Key Takeaways

  • Turn the equipment off
  • Use cloud-based servers
  • Follow cooling system best practices
  • Upgrade power supplies
  • Conduct an energy audit
  • Make energy conservation a priority

1. Turn the equipment off

One of the simplest ways to minimize your energy consumption is to turn equipment off when you aren’t using it. For example, servers are only utilized about 10% of the time and run at about 40% of capacity when no one is using them. Likewise, your employees are likely only using their PCs about 20% of the time.

Turning these devices off when they aren’t in use can significantly influence your energy bills. Even turning all unnecessary equipment off at the end of the workday can impact your electricity charges.

You might also consider removing all bloatware from your computers, because it forces your devices to work harder than they need to throughout the day.

2. Use cloud-based servers

Many companies can now get away with not having an on-site server room and instead taking advantage of cloud solutions. When using cloud-based servers, you store much of your data off-site, so you won’t need the equipment in your data center. 

The result is a more efficient office because you can eliminate a lot of your energy-sucking in-house equipment.

3. Follow the best practices for your cooling system

The equipment in your data centers gets hot, so you need a cooling system. The problem is that these cooling systems can cost a lot of money because many don’t have an efficient design. 

One best practice for cooling includes is to use a hot aisle/cold aisle configuration, which creates a more consistent air temperature. You can also install blanking panels inside your enclosures to prevent hot and cold air from mixing. 

If you’re using a computer room air handler or a computer room air conditioner, there’s a good chance it’s providing more airflow than you actually need, as well. Switching to a variable-frequency unit ensures your IT equipment only receives the airflow it requires, reducing your energy expenses.

Making your cooling system more efficient can cut your cooling costs by as much as 25%, saving you a lot of money in the process.

4. Upgrade your power supplies

One of the most significant expenses in your computer room is the power supply unit (PSU), a device responsible for converting incoming AC power into the DC power your equipment requires. 

The typical PSU operates at about 80% efficiency, while the other variable, the point-of-load voltage regulator, runs at about 75%. The result is power-conversion energy efficiency of around 60%, showing how much power you’re wasting. 

Newer EnergyStar PSUs can operate at 90% or greater efficiency, saving a significant amount of money over their lifetimes.

You can also install a high-efficiency uninterruptible power supply (UPS) or power distribution unit (PDU). Even a 10% increase in UPS efficiency can save the average business a significant amount of money annually in both energy and cooling costs.

5. Conduct an energy audit

If you have no idea why your computer room is costing so much money to operate, conducting an energy audit is an excellent first step. This process allows you to create a vision and plan for energy savings by identifying where you have inefficiencies. 

An energy audit will help you answer some important questions, too:

  • How much of your power budget are IT systems taking up?
  • Does your IT system output match your expenses?
  • How much do your support systems cost to operate?

Answering these questions allows you to identify where the inefficiencies are coming from and use this information to develop custom solutions to your energy consumption issues.

6. Make energy conservation a priority

Finally, creating an organizational culture where reducing energy consumption is a priority can work wonders for your bottom line. 

Once you’ve identified the areas where you can save some money by using less energy in your data center or computer room, start implementing changes that will stick and become part of your operating policy. Make it known that employees are expected to conserve energy whenever possible and construct guidelines that will assist them along the way. 

Universal Electrical Services can help make your data center far more efficient. We can analyze your business to determine your needs and install new uninterruptible power supplies or add power distribution units to maximize your energy savings. Contact Universal Electrical Services today for your free quote.