How can we improve energy efficiency in an increasingly connected world
Nowadays, data centers consume about 2% of electricity worldwide. A number that could rise to 8% of the global total by 2030, according to a study by Anders Andrae, who researches sustainable information and communications technology for Huawei Technologies. In fact, in the US, data center energy usage grew by 24% between 2005 and 2010, and the previous five years energy usage increased by nearly 90% (from 2000 to 2005). But from 2010 to 2014, total data center energy consumption grew by a comparatively tiny 4%. This situation shows how tech companies have made an effort to improve energy efficiency in the past few years.
Although data centers can now pack more processing power into less real estate, high-density computing environments can be a huge drain on operating budgets for several reasons: expanding power demands, increasing power costs and excessive heat.
Scientists and engineers are exploring ways to keep the industry’s environmental impact in check. They are streamlining computing processes, switching to renewable and investigating better ways to cool data centers and to recycle their waste heat. Also, data centers still have room for improvement, with these 6 energy-efficiency tips:
- Turn off lights or install sensors: your data center lights also emit heat and this extra heat places additional load on the cooling system, which makes it work harder than it should to keep temperatures down.
- Install blanking panels in open rack u-space: metal or plastic blanking panels eliminate bypass airflow and prevent exhaust air circulation. For that reason, blanking panels can also improve thermal management and energy efficiency.
- Transition from Black to White cabinets: Gray-white reflects much more light than dark colours, such as black; this fact dictates that more lighting is needed in data centers using black cabinets.
- Adjust data center temperatures.
- Get rid of underused servers: according to the Athensis Group, up to 30% of all physical servers do nothing.
- Get an energy assessment: an analysis of current operations, explaining exactly where and how energy is being used and potentially wasted, can pinpoint where to focus the efforts.
Moreover, technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT) can compile a lot of data, allowing to control variables such as the production level or energy consumption. In this sense, if IoT is implemented in buildings, firms and factories, we can promote a more efficient energy consumption.
Tips to be more efficient thanks to technology will be one of the main topics of Digital Business World Congress, that will host, from 18th – 20th May 2021, 500 international speakers at DES – Digital Enterprise Show.