5 Ways to Reduce Data Center Power Costs

Nathan Hatch is President and CEO of C7 Data Centers, an emerging regional data center provider whose four data centers total more than 40,000 square feet of space. The company is researching additional acquisition and expansion opportunities.

C7 Data Centers

Power is a tremendous monthly fixed cost that all data center providers have to pass on to their customers. Competitive pricing industry wide requires that data center providers find smart and creative ways to keep power costs low. Here are five tips that can help:

1. Build or locate you data center in a low power cost area.
States that have the lowest commercial power costs in the US include: Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. States that have the highest commercial power costs in the US include: California, Nevada, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. The average commercial rates by state ranged from 5.17 to 25.05 cents per kilowatt-hour – nearly a 5-fold difference in power costs.

2. Build or locate your data center in an area that has a mild climate. The hotter the climate, the more power is required to keep the data center cool. Many data centers, as a result of their proximity to customers, are placed in retrofitted buildings. These old buildings are typically built with poor insulation and can have lots of windows, both of which allow the heat to transfer into the data center at a higher rate than a purpose built facility. Locating your data center in a purpose built facility and having an efficient cooling system including a process to use the ambient air temperature will further reduce the power demand of the chillers.

3. Reduce costs through implementing air flow management technologies on the data center floor. Being efficient with the cold air is another way to reduce power costs. Cold and Hot aisle air containment systems are gaining in popularity. To ensure the best savings gains these systems must be complete, involving not only air capture but air-flow and utilization technologies. These systems help direct the cold air to the servers, maintain top to bottom of cabinet temperatures and extend the life of equipment.

4. Be smart with the power you consume. Automated systems can be installed to optimize lighting throughout the facility. Using energy efficient light bulbs in the office and data center floor, and setting your office computers and monitors on energy saving modes will further reduce power consumption.

5. Buy power from the least expensive provider. Many data center providers do not consume sufficient power quantities to negotiate an industrial or direct power rate, however if your data center is located in a low power cost area then you can compete on power pricing with areas of higher demand.

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  1. This is an excellent example of how a little foresight can go a long way in creating efficient datacenters. Although data center operators may be hesitant to move their data center away from their corporate base, if the power is cheap, the climate is right, and the bandwidth is plentiful, this can be an excellent way to increase the overall efficiency of the datacenter.

  2. Ernie

    Nathan you are exactly correct with your line of thinking. I would like to add item 6 and say look for tax breaks for the new data center. Microsoft built a massive data center in Quincy, Washington and had their tax incentives revoked. Due to the low cost of power and the tax incentive from Texas, Microsoft migrated their Azure business from Quincy to San Antonio.