U.S. Energy Lab Uses Subterranean Cooling

The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) built a data center that uses energy efficient hardware and the reuse of server waste heat and a free cooling system that integrates a subterranean cooling chamber. The end result: A PUE of 1.15.

When cutting-edge energy research is is your focus, what kind of data center do you build? The IT team at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) were ready to innovate when they began building a new data center in the NREL's new Research Support Facility in Golden, Colorado. The NSF is a LEED Platinum building designed to be "net zero" on energy usage. How do you make a data center work in that scenario? The NREL built a data center that uses free cooling, airflow management, energy efficient hardware and the reuse of server waste heat. The cooling system starts with outside air, which travels through an underground channel that cools the air to 54 degrees for use in the data center. The end result: A Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of 1.15. Check out this video overview from Chuck Powers, manager of NREL's IT Infrastructure and Operations Group. This video runs 7 minutes, 30 seconds.

For more on energy efficiency, see our Green Data Centers Channel. For additional video, check out our DCK video archive and the Data Center Videos channel on YouTube.

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