© Photo | ebm-papst, Gernot Walter

A fresh breeze in the data bank

A data centre in the United Kingdom switches to EC fans and reduces the energy consump­tion of cooling units by 50 percent

At the data centre of a major invest­ment bank in the United Kingdom servers process astounding amounts of sensi­tive data every day. Reli­a­bility is every­thing, and failure is not an option. There­fore, good cooling is indis­pens­able. Some 76 air-condi­tioning units ensure that this job is done well. As recently as 2006, facility manage­ment provider installed new air-condi­tioning units in the bank’s data centre. When just five years later, Emerson Network Power – which provides services focussed on busi­ness-crit­ical processes – suggested replacing belt-driven AC fans with effi­cient Green­Tech EC fans from ebm-papst, the customer was inter­ested straight away. “Our customers are gener­ally very open-minded towards projects in data centres, as these rooms use a great deal of energy, and the savings poten­tial is extremely large,” explains Helen McHugh, Divi­sional Manager at ebm-papst United Kingdom. As a result, the customer decided in favour of the upgrade in this case. When switching from AC to effi­cient EC fans, Emerson Network Power had to meet a variety of criteria. The instal­la­tion team was only allowed to take one air-condi­tioning unit off-line at a time, and at no point during the upgrade was the data centre to be shut off. Thus the air-condi­tioning units were succes­sively retro­fitted during oper­a­tion with adapted Green­Tech EC centrifugal fans made of aluminium, which were installed in the ground. The invest­ment is paying off. Across all units, the end customer is now enjoying average energy savings of 50 percent and reducing annual CO2 emis­sions by about 1,500 tonnes. The finan­cial savings are approx­i­mately 336,000 EUR per year. The data centre now oper­ates both more quietly and more reli­ably. As a result of not using the belt-driven fans, the noise and main­te­nance effort are reduced. Ian Shaw, Energy Manager at the facility manage­ment provider, states with satis­fac­tion: “Not only were the energy savings exactly as predicted, there was actu­ally no reason to carry out more detailed analyses, since monthly energy consump­tion is obvi­ously so much lower.”

Datacenter_sparstiftIn the United Kingdom alone, data centres use approx. 6.4 gigawatts of energy annu­ally – this corre­sponds to the consump­tion of six million private house­holds. The savings poten­tial in the cooling system, which is respon­sible for half the energy consump­tion of a data centre, is enor­mous. On average, customers attain savings of 50 percent by upgrading to EC fans.


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