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07 Jul

Utilizing Free Cooling

This past month, Google held their second annual summit on data center efficiency in Zurich, Switzerland. Companies from across the global data center industry gathered and discussed best business practices – ways that the companies could reduce their total energy consumption as well reduce their environmental footprint. Google readily admits that it is lucky enough to have resources and experts on-hand who work to continually improve the efficiency of their facilities, and they also recognize that not all companies are as lucky. To help others, they put together a list of five simple and low-cost steps that any company with data facilities, large or small, can use. Number four on their tip list really caught our attention – Utilize Free Cooling.

Data centers, like many other types of air conditioning and industrial cooling systems, require chilled water throughout the year. When outdoor ambient temperatures are as cool or colder than the temperature of the water leaving the chiller though, free cooling is an ideal way to reduce energy consumption and save money by isolating the chiller from the chilled water loop. Google posted videos for each of their tips (see links below), and in their Utilize Free Cooling video, Google employees discuss their practices in their European Data Centers – neither of which have any chillers. Their Belgian location utilizes free cooling using cooling towers! Google calculated that for every gallon of water they use for evaporative cooling, they save two gallons on the energy production side, translating into hundreds of millions of gallons per year in water savings. Talk about reducing environmental footprints!

Have you utilized free cooling? What do you think?

Want to read more about the summit or Google’s tips?

Google’s public blog entry about the summit can be seen here:

And the tip videos can be viewed here: (Be sure to watch tip four for Free Cooling)

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