Why you don’t have to wait to ‘adjust your thermostats’

Travis Talcott, Technical Sales Lead at EkkoSense

Like many of my colleagues across the data center industry, I was pleased to see digital infrastructure specialist Equinix going public on its commitment to reduce overall data center power use by increasing operating temperature ranges. This is a key moment in our industry, especially as a market leader like Equinix has chosen to amplify the discussion around increasing data center operating temperatures. I expect this will prompt many other market participants to re-evaluate their positions.

Equinix details ‘defining a multi-year global roadmap for thermal operations within its data centers’, aimed at eventually achieving significantly more efficient cooling and decreased carbon footprints. It discusses operating facilities closer to 27°C (80°F), referencing alignment with ASHRAE’s A1A standards, and anticipates potential energy efficiency improvements of as much as 10% in various locations.

So why has Equinix chosen now to start talking about more efficient data center temperature standards? And when can we expect to see operating facility temperatures actually start to fall?

Perhaps the biggest clue is the citing of how more efficient cooling will eventually help thousands of its customers to reduce Scope 3 emissions associated with the Equinix hosted data center operations. Scope 3 emissions are the most challenging for enterprises to identify, measure and manage – largely because these emissions take place outside of their control.

Equinix clearly recognizes the increased pressure customers are under to reduce data center energy consumption as part of their corporate ESG initiatives and broader carbon reduction goals. And with Scope 3 encompassing emissions that are not produced by the client itself, colocation firms such as Equinix are aware that Scope 3 carbon emission reductions will quickly become a key differentiator in their marketplace.

The benefits of raising temperatures in data centers can have a far-reaching positive impact on operating efficiency.  Existing cooling units will run more efficiently, and chillers will require less power. Adjusting temperature windows will also widen the operating window of when existing economization infrastructure can operate and deliver savings across cooling infrastructure. However, raising operating temperatures will also require much more granular environmental monitoring than is generally seen today, along with new methods to understand, analyze and act on the implications of this change.

In the near-term, what can data center operators to help evolve towards more efficient cooling and operating temperatures within their facilities? While Equinix and partners such as HPE focus on their global roadmap for thermal operations, the good news is that there are already proven ways to achieve similar cooling optimization results. These ways don’t require an extensive investment in new data center hardware, can be deployed immediately, and can also start delivering quantifiable energy savings within weeks.

That’s where EkkoSense can help, with award-winning, AI-enabled data center optimization software that challenges traditional methods and incumbent software systems to help redefine data center optimization. Our proven EkkoSoft Critical software helps to remove thermal and power risk across estates, enabling your operations teams to continually right-size cooling capacity. EkkoSense customers typically secure between 10-30% reductions in data center cooling energy use. Whether you’re a Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 3 colocation provider, or if you’re managing your data center directly, we can help you deliver quantifiable carbon savings to support your ESG programmes.

So, while we’re waiting for global efficiency initiatives to gain momentum, why not get in touch with me for a demo and start unlocking some immediate carbon savings with EkkoSense.