This case study describes the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL) data center as a showcase of energy efficiency. Most of what NREL has done can be replicated by clients; however, two design approaches are climate-dependent: near-full reliance on outside air for cooling, and photovoltaic arrays for power.
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An energy-efficient data center includes targets for its power usage effectiveness (<1.2) and energy resource efficiency (< 0.9). It should be designed with hot isle–cold isle separation, use free cooling (economizer) and evaporative cooling when available, minimize fan energy, and use the most energy-efficient equipment possible.
This case study highlights the design, implementation strategies, and continuous performance monitoring of NREL's Research Support Facility data center.