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Data centres cooled too much, report suggests

Report from industry group including IBM, HP and Intel shows almost all data centres cooled more than necessary

Data centres can operate at up to 27 degrees Celsius, according to industry guidelines.
Data centres can operate at up to 27 degrees Celsius, according to industry guidelines.

Almost all computer data centres are cooled to a lower temperature than necessary, according to a new study by an industry group.

The group, which is comprised of representatives from Intel, IBM, HP, Liebert Precision Cooling and the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, found that all data centres in a survey of the US Data Centre Users Group were cooled to well below a recommended temperature of 27°C.

The survey found that of 98 respondents, the highest temperature of air inflow through computer room-air handling (CRAH) systems was 23.3°C, with two thirds cooling to 20-21°C.

The recommended limit of 27°C was proposed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). The consortium raised the recommended limit in 2008 to recognize the ongoing drive for energy efficiency in data centres.

The study estimated the potential energy savings that could be achieved if data centres could be operated closer to the recommended limit as being as high as 90% energy savings for CRAHs.

Achieving these energy savings however, is complicated by the fact that servers systems and cooling systems are rarely able to communicate, meaning that although some servers and data room systems now have advanced capabilities to determine cooling needs, they are not integrated with

The report, which is part of ongoing studies by the group into energy efficiency, suggested that advanced closed loop monitoring and management of cooling would help companies to operate data centre's closer to the recommended limit, and that integration of the advanced instrumentation capabilities of servers with facilities management systems, will open up further energy saving opportunities.

View the report here.