Energy efficiency and air quality considerations in airside economized data centers
Many data center operators are considering the option to convert from mechanical to free air cooling to improve energy efficiency. The main advantage of free air cooling is the elimination of chiller and Air Conditioning Unit operation when outdoor temperature falls below the data center temperature set point. Accidental introduction of gaseous pollutants in the data center along the fresh air and potential latency in response of control infrastructure to extreme events are some of the main concerns for adopting outside air cooling in data centers. Recent developments of ultra-high sensitivity corrosion sensors enable the real time monitoring of air quality and thus allow a better understanding of how airflow, relative humidity, and temperature fluctuations affect corrosion rates. Both the sensitivity of sensors and wireless networks ability to detect and react rapidly to any contamination event make them reliable tools to prevent corrosion related failures. A feasibility study is presented for eight legacy data centers that are evaluated to implement free air cooling.