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Data Centers

Data centers can consume 100 to 200 times as much electricity as standard office spaces. With such large power consumption, they are prime targets for energy efficient design measures that can save money and reduce electricity use. However, the critical nature of data center loads means that efficiency must compete with many other design criteria -- chiefly reliability and high power density capacity. The most efficient and effective data center designs use relatively new design fundamentals to create the required high energy density, high reliability environment. Emerging best practices capture many of the new 'standard' approaches used as a starting point by successful and efficient data centers.


  • e-News #92: Evolution of LEED v4
    March 14, 2014
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    e-News #92: LEED v4

    LEED v4 places increased emphasis on building performance. The U.S. Green Building Council has unveiled the latest version of its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Rating System.

    LEED v4 sets the bar higher for manufacturers of building materials, encouraging them to reduce environmental impacts and health hazards associated with material ingredients. Rating systems have been adapted for twenty-one additional market sectors that formerly faced barriers to LEED certification, including data centers, warehouses & distribution centers, and hospitality. LEED v4 introduces several new concepts, including IDP, BUG, LCA, EPD, and HPD. If these acronyms are not in your LEED lexicon...

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  • e-News #91: Title 24 2013 Update
    November 23, 2013
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    e-News #91: Title 24 2013

    The 2013 Title 24 Standards have undergone a number of changes to improve the energy performance of new and existing buildings. In addition to increased stringency, the Standards have increased in scope to include requirements for covered processes -- data centers, laboratories, kitchen exhaust systems, parking garages -- and they have increased in extent to include commissioning requirements and
    additional acceptance test requirements for systems and components. A few of the many key changes to the 2013 Standards follow.

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  • Trigger Sheet: Nonresidential HVAC Built-up Alterations
    November 22, 2013
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    Trigger Sheets: This handy trigger sheet summarizes sections of Title 24, Part 6 energy code that are triggered based on project scope.  The sections indicated on these trigger sheets can help identify energy code requirements for your project.

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  • e-News #90: Fuel Cells
    October 29, 2013
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    e-News #90: Fuel Cells

    Fuel Cells Fuel Alternative Energy Options. A fuel cell is a device that converts the chemical energy from a fuel – most commonly hydrogen – into electricity through a chemical reaction with oxygen or another oxidizing agent. Although many might think of fuel cells as batteries, they are not. Fuel cells require a constant source of fuel and oxygen to operate, and they can produce electricity for as long as fuel and oxygen are provided.

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  • e-News #82: Data Center Efficiency
    September 15, 2011
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    e-News #82: Data Center Efficiency

    Data centers are driving the growth of many hi-tech industries but a consequence of their rapid increase in capacity is greater consumption of energy and resources, and increased greenhouse gas emissions.

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  • e-News #74: Combined Heat and Power
    July 30, 2010
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    e-News #74: Combined Heat and Power

    A building may contain a vast array of efficiency measures, or it may be old and inefficient. Either way, the electricity used in the building will likely be produced with inherent inefficiencies. The efficiency of fossil fuel based electricity production averages 34% (although new combined cycle plants can exceed 50% efficiency). The ultimate efficiency of any building pulling electricity from the grid is limited by that number.

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  • Design Brief: Chiller Plant Efficiency
    June 13, 2010
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    Design Brief: Chiller Plant Efficiency

    Though more costly to install and more complicated to operate, a chiller plant offers a number of benefits over simple packaged cooling units, including greater energy efficiency, better controllability, and longer life.

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  • Design Brief: Energy Efficiency Practices in Industrial Refrigeration
    January 12, 2010
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    Energy costs are a significant expense for facilities that operate industrial refrigeration systems. In new construction projects, significant energy savings can be achieved by incorporating energy efficiency technologies in the project design. For facilities being expanded or upgraded, ensuring the efficiency of the refrigeration systems can lead to significant energy savings without compromising productivity.

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  • Design Brief: Industrial Process Heat Recovery
    October 26, 2009
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    Process heating is a significant source of energy consumption in the industrial and manufacturing sectors, and it often results in a large amount of waste heat that is discharged into the atmosphere.

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  • e-News #47: Lowering the Energy Use of Data Centers
    June 1, 2005
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    Each year brings advances in the performance of the information technology equipment housed in data centers. But are the facilities themselves, and the mechanical systems that serve them, demonstrating similar leaps in performance?

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High Performance Data Centers - A Design Guidelines Sourcebook

Pacific Gas & Electric

High Performance Data Centers - A Design Guidelines Sourcebook thumbnail

This Data Center Best Practices Guide provides viable alternatives to inefficient data center design and operating practices and helps identify cost-effective energy efficiency retrofit opportunities.(2011, 84 pages).

Energy Efficient Cooling Control Demonstration

CEC Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Program

Energy Efficient Cooling Control Demonstration thumbnail

This study demonstrates significant reduction in air conditioning loads and costs in data centers from intelligent automated control systems.

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