Nothing induces panting like the dog days of summer, except perhaps the hyperventilation that occurs when you receive the electric bill after spending a month immersed in air-conditioned-bliss. But there are inexpensive alternatives to blasting 24/7 A/C for keeping your cool at home during these balmy days -- simple things such as sealing air leaks, drawing the shades when the sun's out, and opening windows at night when it's cooler outside.
In the datacenter, admins are feeling the heat as well. Business-critical hardware must remain properly cooled, but the energy bills seem to soar exponentially as the temperature rises.
Fortunately, even the most frugal and financially strapped organizations have ways to cut their A/C bills without having to perform an entire IT-operations overhaul. Following are a few tips for trimming not only some expense from your cooling bills, but as a result, shrinking your organization's environmental footprint in the process.
1. Fight heat with heat. According to tips provided by Sun and attributed to Dave Douglas, the company's vice president of eco-responsibility, increasing the set point temperature in your datacenter by just one measly degree can reduce energy consumption by 4 to 5 percent.
Taking it a step further, raising the set point from 68F to 72F could save 15 percent to 20 percent of the cooling energy "while still keeping air inlet temperatures well within computer manufacturer specifications," according to the information from Sun. In fact, ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) suggests setting the temperature in a modern datacenter at 78 degrees, which reaps even more savings.
2. Plug holes in the raised floor. Plugging those holes in the floor is a widely recommended best practice. Leaks can result in cool air escaping, as well as hot spots. Holes and leaks can crop up in various places. One of the more common culprits are the cable holes under racks and cabinets.
Robert McFarlane, president of the Interport division at Shen Milsom Wilke, recommends plugging those holes with either a do-it-yourself sealant, made from Masonite and duct tape, for example, or using a commercial product such as KoldLok Brush Grommet. Placing blanking panels on all unused space in front of a rack call also promote efficient cooling.