Data Center Design: Managing HVAC Systems

Posted on Feb 10 2014 - 6:04am by Cathy Brunetti

Data centers consume more electricity than standard office spaces, so it’s important to regulate the temperature at all times. Different equipment produce concentrated heat, which can affect the productivity of your systems if the design is poor. This is why a remarkable data center design can help improve energy efficiency and equipment reliability.

data center design

Managing HVAC Systems

The different pieces of equipment you have running produce heat, while HVAC systems use cool air to regulate it. Air management is responsible for creating an ideal temperature within the area. When designed properly, it can improve the data center’s density capacity (W/sf), minimize replacement costs, and reduce operational expenses due to failures and interruptions.

How Air Management Works

The goal of air management is to remove heat from the equipment before it overpowers the cool air supply and goes back to the equipment. To make this more effective, the equipment should be set up in a good location with air openings and properly maintained HVAC systems. Here are some strategies:

  1. Hot-Cold Aisle – This strategy uses equipment racks to separate heat and cool air, so they won’t mix with each other. The heat will stay in one place (hot aisle), while being exhausted through the vents.
  2. Flexible Barriers – Plastic barriers, like those used in supermarkets for refrigeration, seal areas between the topmost part of the rack and the ceiling. This makes up to 25% energy savings possible, as the vent and cooling systems use less power.
  3. Ventilated Racks – These transfer cool air directly inside the rack, while removing heat from another side using an exhaust. Many data centers prefer this because it doesn’t transfer the temperature inside the data center rooms.

A good data center design will help your equipment function properly, allowing you to save on costs normally allocated for repairs and replacements. Consult design experts for more information about air management and other useful strategies to keep your data center in peak performance.