Data Centres


Optomize system-wide for maximum savings

Compared to office space, a typical data centre uses up to 50 times the amount of electricity per square foot. That’s why it makes sense to prioritize data centres for energy savings.

In addition to reducing energy costs, an energy-efficient data centre can also improve reliability, increase overall capacity and reduce your environmental footprint.

For any optimization or upgrades, consider working with a Commissioning Agent to ensure that you’re taking a comprehensive approach. The agent will verify and document that the facility and all systems are planned, designed, installed, tested, operated and maintained according to specifications.

This should include your electrical distribution equipment and systems, HVAC, monitoring and controls, lighting and specialty systems.

Get up to 50% of project costs

Many data centre energy-efficiency projects are eligible for incentives under the RETROFIT PROGRAM, which pays up to 50% of the total project costs. Contact us and we’ll outline all of the incentives that your project may qualify for.

Apply for up to $40,000 in incentives to upgrade chillers

Take advantage of EXISTING BUILDING COMMISSIONING incentives to evaluate and improve the performance of your chillers. Incentives are available for each phase of the project: scoping, investigation, implementation and hand-off.

Whether or not you are virtualizing servers, having your chillers run as efficiently as possible can produce energy savings.

To qualify for this program:

  • Your annual demand must be more than 50 kW
  • Your chilled water system must be more than three years old
  • You are cooling an area of greater than 50,000 sq. ft.
  • Your chiller is not scheduled for replacement within the next two years
  • Your chiller was not refurbished or retrofitted within the last three years

Typically servers use 50% of the energy consumed, cooling uses 40%

Once you’ve virtualized your servers, you can then establish your new cooling load, which will likely be much lower. Then it’s time to optimize your cooling systems accordingly and save again.

Here’s an overview of the most common data centre savings opportunities.


1. Start by virtualizing your servers
Virtual machines can run up to 20 times the number of applications. With fewer servers, you save on hardware, the number of required software licences, operations, maintenance and real estate.

2. Tune up or replace your chiller
While an old chiller may still work, it’s likely costing too much to operate. Over the past decade, technical improvements in chillers such as better heat transfer technology, digital controls and variable frequency drives (VFDs) have delivered vast improvements in energy efficiency.

Typically, a new chiller can reduce usage from 1.5 kW/ton to .7 kW/ton. Evaluate, then upgrade or replace.

Learn more about the benefits of upgrading or replacing your chiller >

3. Switch to VFDs to control fans and pumps
Upgrading to VFDs is a proven way to save energy, reduce maintenance costs and lower CO2 emissions.

There are many opportunities for VFD upgrades in a data centre. These include air supply fans, return fans, liquid cooler fans, condenser water pumps, chiller compressors and chilled water pumps.

VFDs adjust to run as required, rather than at a constant full speed. The energy savings can be between 10 to 40% and retrofits are relatively quick and simple. Paybacks typically range from two to four years.

Learn how VFDs can drive savings >

4. Limit mixing of hot and cold air to save
Sometimes simple is best. Separate hot and cold aisles with simple airflow management upgrades such as baffles and blanking panels to reduce cooling loads.

5. Choose ENERGY STAR® equipment
ENERGY STAR certified products are the best energy performers of all makes and models. They meet strict technical specifications for energy efficiency without compromising features or performance.

Because your data centre runs 24/7, a move to ENERGY STAR uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) and Premium Efficiency Distribution Transformers can pay back quickly. Upgrade once, save every year.

Learn more about ENERGY STAR UPS >

6. Upgrade cooling system monitoring and control systems
Maintaining even temperature control is fundamental to operating a data centre. Today, sophisticated monitoring and control systems can keep temperatures to setpoints, while identifying both hot spots that need additional cooling, and cold spots where too much cooling is applied. Correcting cold spots allows operators to reduce airflow to those areas, which can result in new savings.

Also, keep in mind that new servers are designed to operate at warmer temperatures, which means you can increase the setpoint and let it fluctuate more. When replacing servers, be sure to specify higher-temperature models (ASHRAE Class A2 or higher).

7. Don’t miss out on free cooling and heating
Ontario’s climate is ideal to take advantage of water- or air-side economizers. Combine free cooling with an energy-efficient chiller to reduce chiller operation costs by up to 70%, especially during winter.

Also, consider opportunities for reclaiming exhaust air, which is typically at a constant flow and a high temperature.

Telus Communications

Big project, multi-million dollar savings

By automating a year-round cooling system, Telus saw a two-year payback on a project that significantly reduced energy waste.

Project Cost: $164,260
Incentive: $74,250
Electricity Cost Savings: $51,858

A large financial services provider virtualized servers at two locations:

Project Cost: $1,070,815
Incentive: $251,539
Annual Electricity Cost Savings: $282,000
Payback: 2.89 years
Immediate savings: $2.94 million
Operations savings: $7.94 million over 5 years
Saved 5,550 sq. ft. of floor space

Additional Information

Peter Rambos

Peter Rombos
Large Commercial Consultant

“Your data centre is an obvious place to look for big energy savings. Call me and I'll show you how to get started.”

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