At the recent Sustainable Silicon Valley meeting on February 16, 2007, we had a great presentation from Alan Pong, Sales Manager of FSI (about benchmarking by square footage. The West Coast tends to require an average 14.0 kw/sq foot per year, compared with 18.0 in the North East, 20, in the Midwest, and 22 in the South East. (Other areas with greater climate extremes require more heating and cooling than California.) With a well designed and implemented program, Californians could set goals of anywhere between 11 – 16 kw/sq.ft. per year.
Alan’s advice to the group was to look at the kilowatt hours you buy, not what you spend because you’ll find the root of inefficiencies easier from that perspective. He cited as an example where the FSI did a re-commissioning, that clean rooms and data centers often deploy heating and cooling nearly simultaneously in order to maintain a very narrow bandwidth of temperature change.
Taking that comment a little further, Larry Goad, Critical Environments Managers of James Lang Lasalle, the property management company with over 12 million square feet under management in the USA alone, talked about his experience working with Sun Microsystems throughout their buildings nationwide. When they started to experiment with the temperature controls required to keep servers up, they noted that an ambient temperature anywhere between 68 and 72 degrees was acceptable with no down time. Last summer, they allowed the temperature to rise to 76 degrees and still nothing failed with a humidity set at 45 - 50%. This should encourage more data center managers to explore the limits of temperature change – as time based usage becomes the norm across the USA. Have a green day!