PORTLAND, Ore. - The Green Grid has announced the availability of a free online tool and maps designed to help North American data center and facilities managers easily determine how much outside air - also known as free cooling - is available for individual data centers. The use of free cooling can help data center managers lower energy consumption and related costs, and potentially can extend the life of data center facilities.

Founded in 2007, The Green Grid is a global consortium dedicated to advancing energy efficiency in data centers.

“Data centers with increasing IT loads require more power to cool them, so finding cooling options that use less power is critical not only for organizations that don’t have resources to build new facilities but also for those that want to save money,” said Mark Monroe, a director of The Green Grid. “For much of the year, the air outside data centers can be cooler than the air inside. The tool that The Green Grid has developed will help determine how much free cooling a specific data center can leverage.”

Using zip codes, the tool allows users in the United States and Canada to input their specific variables - such as local energy costs, IT load, and facility load - to determine the energy savings for individual facilities. In addition to free cooling from outside air, the tool provides information about savings that could be obtained using water-side economizers. For example:

• A 1 megawatt (1,000 kW) data center in San Jose, zip code 95101,with power at a cost of 12.78 cents per kWh, could save $66,000 per year using free cooling, or $160,000 per year using a water-side economizer.

• A 1 megawatt (1,000 kW) data center in Herndon, Va., zip code 20170, with power at 8.14 cents per kWh, could save $20,000 per year using free cooling, or $130,000 per year using a water-side economizer.

Members of The Green Grid will have access to a high-resolution graphical map of free cooling throughout the U.S. and Canada, while non-members can download a low-resolution version in the “Library and Tools” section of The Green Grid Website.

The Green Grid’s free cooling tool contains information from 2,186 weather stations throughout the United States and Canada. The database consists of all hourly observations taken during the period extending from 1999 through 2008. This count of hours is then divided by 10 (total years of data) to provide a result of the “normal” number of occurrences during a given year. The total number of hours of available free cooling will always range from 0 to 8,760 hours.

For more information, visit www.thegreengrid.org.

Publication date: 05/18/2009