Can combining economizers with improved filtration save energy and protect equipment in data centers? Page: 2 of 29
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To be submitted to Atmospheric Environment
Keywords: Indoor air quality; particulate matter; hygroscopic salts; black carbon; equipment
reliability; energy efficiency
Data centers house electronic equipment that is integral to modern day information
technology (IT). The operation of data center buildings in the United States consumes a
substantial and rapidly increasing proportion of total national electricity demand. For example,
in 2005, US data center operations required about 45 billion kWh of electricity, which was twice
the amount used in 2000 and more than 1% of total US electricity demand (Koomey, 2007).
Under a business-as-usual trajectory, data center electricity use in the US is projected to double
in five years, although energy efficiency practices have been identified that could significantly
reduce the rate of increase (Brown et al., 2007). One potentially important efficiency practice is
the use of economizers, which provide large amounts of outside air for cooling internal heat
loads during favorable weather conditions, thereby reducing the high air-conditioning energy
demand associated with data center operation. Economizer implementation, however, has been
hindered by perceived potential equipment reliability concerns associated with exposing IT
equipment to outdoor particulate matter (PM) (Tschudi et al., 2004). Economizer use has been
shown to increase particle concentrations relative to conventional non-economizer data center
cooling design (Shehabi et al., 2008). Although the higher concentrations are still below most air
quality guidelines, data center guidelines themselves vary widely (ASHRAE, 2009) and any
increase in levels relative to conditions occurring under conventional practice may dissuade
economizer implementation, especially given the strong emphasis in this sector on performance
This paper explores the feasibility of using economizers in data centers to save energy
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Shehabi, Arman; Ganguly, Srirupa; Gundel, Lara A.; Horvath, Arpad; Kirchstetter, Thomas W.; Lunden, Melissa M. et al. Can combining economizers with improved filtration save energy and protect equipment in data centers?, article, June 5, 2009; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc933574/m1/2/: accessed October 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.