Data Center Energy Use

It seems energy and efficiency are the new trends in the AEC industry.  Commercial markets are looking to reduce their energy usage by weighing different methods and calculating the return on investments.  Data centers are one market that is now realizing their past inefficiencies.  Data storage is a huge, yet growing industry and being able to perform the same or better computing power while using less energy is a must.  Data centers use a substantial amount of energy in this country (5% according to the linked article).  As technology and computing methods changes quickly, data centers are being designed with added flexibility with the future in mind.  Innovative ways to save energy are being implemented, such as advanced cooling methods to reduce the cooling loads on the HVAC systems.  One of the best ways to contribute to less energy usage by data centers is to retrofit the older, outdated centers.  Adding the new cooling technology and changing out the lighting fixtures can be the number one ways to reduce energy.  Hopefully some of the new innovative retrofit ideas will make their way to office spaces around the country.  In factor #2 in the article, it is mentioned that a deep understanding of the electrical and mechanical systems (of an existing data center or office space to be retrofitted) is mandatory.  This leads to the importance of architectural engineers to our industry.  As energy and efficiency take priority, owners are looking more toward engineering design solutions than architectural ones.


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