Data CenterPower and Cooling

Learn How to Save Big with Economizer Mode at Energy University

We’ve been singing the praises of using economizer mode with data center cooling systems pretty much ever since the inception of this blog. Perhaps you’ve seen posts like this one from nearly two years ago or this one from earlier this year where John Tuccillo explains why it’s now possible to use economizer mode far more frequently than in the past.  As John explains:

No matter where you are on the planet, chances are you can be taking advantage of more “free” cooling than you currently are – in many cases, it’s all the cooling you’ll need.

That’s the upshot of the new Free Cooling maps published by The Green Grid, which take into account some new data center classifications published last year by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

The ASHRAE classifications he mentions are worth checking out, as they may have you rethink the temperature and humidity settings in your data center – and, as a result, dramatically increase the number of days per year you’ll be able to use economizer mode. (Learn more about the guidelines by checking out The Green Grid white paper, “Updated Air-Side Free Cooling Maps: The Impact of ASHRAE 2011 Allowable Ranges.”)

All of which makes this a very good time to learn more about economizer mode and how to make it work for you. Schneider Electric’s Energy University is here to help in that effort with the free online course, “Economizer Modes of Data Center Cooling Systems.”

In a little more than 30 minutes, you’ll learn how to:

  • Identify the purpose, function and types of economizer modes
  • Compare the different types of economizer modes
  • Identify factors that impact economizer mode operation
  • Eliminate or reduce non-economizer modes in cooling systems

As you’ll learn from the course, there are a number of different approaches to economizer mode.  The course proposes terminology and definitions for the various types of economizer modes that use air or water to transport heat energy from a data center to the outdoors. The operation of each type of economizer mode is described, with six types identified as the most beneficial for data centers.

The six types of economizer mode are then compared across multiple attributes, including how easy they are to retrofit in an existing data center, compatibility with different sorts of building attributes, life expectancy, footprint and more.

The course also provides a quantitative comparison of the six types of economizer mode with respect to seven attributes:

  • Annual water consumption
  • Capital cost of entire cooling system
  • Annual maintenance cost of entire cooling system
  • Total cooling energy
  • Annual hours of full economizer mode
  • Annual hours of partial economizer mode
  • Estimated annual power usage effectiveness

You’ll also learn about factors that impact the use of economizer mode operation and what’s involved in increasing economizer mode hours (spoiler alert: they amount to climate and data center temperature). There’s even a discussion of how you can realistically operate in economizer mode all the time, meaning you can remove your primary cooling compressor.

Once you get through the course, you’ll understand how use of economizer mode can result in savings of 70% in annual cooling system energy costs in certain climates. If that sounds attractive, learn more by taking the free online course “Economizer Modes of Data Center Cooling Systems.” You’ll find it in the College of Data Centers at Energy University.


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