As technology needs continue to grow, bigger and more powerful data centers are needed to keep up with the growing demand. Data centers were once a black hole of energy inefficiency, but new approaches to data center design are quickly making these buildings sustainable. Below, let's examine just a few ways improved design can help create sustainable data centers.
Within the data center itself, there are plenty of toxic components that can ultimately end up in a landfill. Many electrical components and cooling units contain dangerous materials that can be hazardous to the environment. Implementing a conscious approach to reduce the amount of waste the data center uses can go a long way. How can this be done?
Simply reducing the amount of unneeded cables, sensors, and other hardware can make the data center more eco-friendly. Implementing sound recycling programs that transcend all levels of use—from the data center employees to customers—is a great way to eliminate unnecessary waste.
Data centers eat up a tremendous amount of energy. Many of the systems and programs must be run around the clock to keep up with demand. Understanding the energy cycles at the data center can help make them more energy efficient. Reallocating heavy work loads from peak energy hours to off-peak hours can help make the data center energy efficient and save money in the process. Creating a better energy usage plan simultaneously improves cost and energy efficiency within the data center.
Take Advantage of Space
Data centers are typically large, sprawling spaces with an immense footprint. Utilizing the amount of free space on the walls and roof of the data center offers an amazing opportunity to create a sustainable building. But what opportunities exist?
Depending on the location, windows and roofs can be implemented to take advantage of solar potential for various aspects of the building. Sprawling rooftops can be used as rooftop gardens. Light vegetation on the roof can help reduce the effects of a data center heat island. Vegetated roofs can help filter stormwater and reduce interior temperatures, thus reducing the amount of energy required to cool the building.
Create a Culture
One of the most important aspects of building a sustainable data center is creating a sustainable culture for the people interacting with the building daily. Select a site for the data center that is close to public transportation, and encourage employees to utilize mass transit to reduce carbon emissions. Implement energy saving practices throughout the building, such as using LED lighting, installing hand dryers in the restrooms, or implementing recycling receptacles to help promote positive sustainable behaviors.
The engineering team at Gausman & Moore is passionate about sustainable design and innovation. We are always looking for new, exciting ways to create sustainable buildings. We specialize in mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering and hope to bring our expertise to your next project. To learn more about our engineering services, contact our team today.