DCN May 2017 - Page 17

design & facilities Management Some facilities, such as swimming pools can utilise heat energy all year round. LOCATING THE DATA CENTRE Nick Carter, data centre services director at Ramboll, explores whether the location of future UK data centres should be determined by the potential to recycle energy. W ith the introduction of the Energy Reuse Effectiveness (ERE) data centre metric by the Green Grid in 2011, and the exhaustion of the Power Utilisation Effectiveness (PUE) metric, we are witnessing a shift in emphasis from both the owners and operators of data centres to recycling, rather than just rejecting, heat energy. For many years the challenge for designers of data centres has been to dissipate and reject the heat generated as a by- product of operating systems and equipment that employ semi- conductor materials. To tackle this many of the IT brands have sought to reduce power use for their equipment. In conjunction with better server workflow management and utilisation, a more temperature tolerant product, a shift in the environmental operating envelope and effective measures for heat dissipation (in the form of ‘free cooling’), these initiatives have led to a significant reduction in the energy consumption associated with data centres. However, energy consumption of IT hardware continues to rise simply because of the capacity demands of the digital age, which as a by-product produce vast amounts of low grade heat energy. The ability to recycle this ‘heat’ energy is receiving a greater focus, not only in terms of commercial returns and legislative compliance, but more importantly in avoiding the use of prime carbon producing energy sources to heat building space. There are however some logistical challenges in realising the potential from this waste energy source, whilst also ensuring May 2017 | 17