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Thermodynamic Analysis of Data Center Power and Water Utilization across ASHRAE Environmental Envelopes for Different Cooling Technologies
Keywords: water utilization, ASHRAE environmental envelope, power consumption
In order for a data center to function properly, the environment must be tightly controlled to ensure maximum reliability of the electronic hardware components. Any method of controlling the environment always has a cost, either in capital or in resources, and therefore becomes an issue for the sustainability of a building or complex. Many efforts are being made globally to address the issue of energy efficiency within data centers and especially on developing sustainable methods for managing these facilities. A key area which is only in the initial stages of consideration is the impact of power and cooling on water resources. The data center industry is increasingly being scrutinized for its water use as national and municipal focus shifts to availability and ecosystem protection. The majority of data centers continue to use direct-expansion cooling (chiller-assisted CRAC). However, alternative cooling technologies such as direct evaporation (air economizer), indirect cooling (wet economizer), and direct air (free cooling) have gained market share in recent years. This presentation explores the implementation of these four cooling technologies within data centers and gives a comparative analysis of operational costs based upon combined power and water consumption. An experimental study of server performance across the ASHRAE environmental operating envelopes from 15C to 44C rack inlet temperature was conducted. The results, presented separately, consider the effect of rack inlet temperature on server power consumption, air flow rate, and fan power consumption for varying compute utilizations. For the present work, the measured server power and air flow rate are used to calculate IT thermal loads of a representative data hall. The calculated loads are used as input to the energy flow model previously published by Breen et al. assuming 1 MW of critical IT load. A facility-level thermodynamic analysis utilizing TMY3 weather bin data is presented for each cooling technology implemented in 19 cities representing the ASHRAE climate zones across the United States. The resulting cooling power, water consumption, and calculated annual operational costs are presented across climate zones and environmental operating envelopes for each cooling technology.
Marianna Vallejo,
University of Texas at Arlington
Arlington, TX

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