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FOCUS CARBON LEGISLATION


Issue 37, September/October 2014


TARGETS IN THE UK In light of the UK’s recent introduction of a Climate Change Agreement for data centers with colocation space, Dr Beth Whitehead, sustainability engineer at Operational Intelligence, describes how facilities in the UK can look at cooling to reducing their non-IT energy consumption


F


our years ago the process began to establish a climate change agreement (CCA) for data centers in the UK. The agreement, which enables continued sector growth, provides a reduction in CCL (Climate Change Levy) taxes and exemption from the CRC (Carbon Reduction Commitment) in return for efficient energy consumption. Achievement of this milestone is recognition that the government understands the importance of the data center sector to the UK economy. The agreement is applicable to colocation providers, which are eligible if they can demonstrate facility temperature and humidity control, a power supply of at least 200kW and on-site back-up supplies in case of a mains failure. A number of facilities from the same company can be combined under the same target or assessed individually. The sector target is a 15% reduction in power usage effectiveness (PUE) below a 2011 baseline by 2020. To acknowledge that some facilities already have very low PUE and some very high, a site target of 30% reduction in non-IT energy has been set. To further account for this and the late start of the agreement, targets have been


spread unevenly over the lifetime of the scheme. The first target period is the end of 2014 and has a target of 1% reduction in PUE or a 2% reduction in non-IT energy. The next target period runs to the end of 2016 and is expected see changes to baseline values and the method and standards used for measuring targets as the sector gets up to speed with the agreement. The targets can be met, missed or exceeded. By meeting the targets, the facility gets a 90% rebate for electricity and a 65% rebate for other fuels on the CCL, and exclusion of the energy captured under the CCA from the CRC. If facilities miss targets, the difference between the target CO2 and actual CO2 is calculated and paid for at a price of £12 per ton CO2. Conversely, if facilities exceed targets, the CO2 is carried forward to future targets. Once the application process has been completed, and a participant has signed the Underlying Agreement, the scheme begins and the facility must work towards achieving these goals. After IT load, typically the biggest savings and PUE reduction opportunity are with the cooling systems. This article offers some practical solutions to achieve this reduction through cooling efficiencies.


A WORKING EXAMPLE


Energy (MWh) in 6 months


2% Target Missed


Missed Missed


Achieved Exceeded Exceeded Exceeded


Actual non-IT load saving


1% additional 0% saving 1.5% saving 2% saving 3% saving 4% saving 4% saving


32 www.datacenterdynamics.com


Non-IT 3,981


3,942 3,883 3,863 3,824 3,784 3,745


The table below shows what the energy bill could be for a data center with the following characteristics, assuming the target period runs from 1 July to 31 December 2014


Total energy 8,361


8,322 8,263 8,243 8,204 8,164 8,125


Purchase Price (p/kWh)


10 10 10 10 10 10 10


Gross price (£) 836,142


832,200 826,287 824,316 820,374 816,432 812,490


CCL tax (£) Net price (£) without adjustments


45,235 45,022 44,702 44,595 44,382 44,169 43,956


881,400 877,200 871,000 868,900 864,800 860,600 856,400


1. AIRFLOW MANAGEMENT Appropriate management of airflow ensures that minimal air supplied by computer room air handling (CRAH) units bypasses servers and IT equipment to return directly back to the CRAH units; that minimal hot server air is recirculated from server exhausts to satisfy required air volumes; and minimal air is induced into the floor void. In legacy data centers increased IT inlet temperatures result from mixing of hot and cold air streams created by bypass and recirculation. CRAH set points are often reduced to compensate, leading to higher energy consumption and inefficiency.


Bypass can be improved by: • Ensuring floor grilles are located in front of loaded racks in the cold aisle and not the hot aisle


• Ensuring air speeds are not so high that surplus air volumes are supplied from grilles • Blocking cable cut outs in the floor • Sealing gaps between racks in contained cold or hot aisle arrangements


Recirculation can be improved by: • Installing rack blanking plates and blocking any gaps in racks


MEETING CLIMATE CHANGE


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