– Herman Chan, Director of Raritan’s Power Management Solutions Group (www.raritan.com), says:
Does raising the temperature as a way to lower costs increase costs in other areas? Yes, it could add incremental upfront costs with the purchase of environment monitoring equipment; however, in Raritan’s view, environmental monitoring equipment ought to be part of any data center. Over time, the savings will outweigh the initial investment. Plus, without a monitoring system, it becomes very difficult to drive efficiencies while minimizing risks. For example, data center managers, who are chartered to provide maximum availability in data centers, may be hesitant to make changes, such as increasing temperature set points, without the support of these monitoring tools.
One thing to be mindful of is that raising the temperature too high may cause IT device fans to run faster and more often, which may negate some of the energy savings. The ideal is to monitor both cooling system and IT device power consumption to determine the most energy efficient temperature settings.
As data center temperatures are raised, less cooling capacity may be needed. Air conditioning equipment operates most efficiently at its maximum cooling output. To ensure the greatest efficiency, the equipment may need to be reconfigured. For example, if less cooling is required it is better to have two CRAC units operating near their maximum, rather than have three CRAC units operating at 60% of maximum.