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Could Fujitsu Pave the Way for Data Center Energy Ratings?

Guest Blog Post by Madoline Hatter

In November of 2013, Fujitsu claimed the first National Australian Built Environment Rating System award of four stars for its data center facility, the Noble Park Data Centre. The facility demonstrates how high demands of energy can be met with little impact on the environment. The four star rating indicates it is 20-percent more efficient over similar structures that rate at a three-star level. This allows Fujitsu to gain notoriety for developing a infrastructure that is conscientious about the surrounding community. This award becomes all the more salient when one considers the ongoing trend to migrate the commerce and leisure time onto the Internet and the devices that access it. 


The System


The NABERS method comprises of a six-star rating system for energy efficiency in Australia overseeing the environmental impact a particular build or structure has. The higher the rating, the less impact there is on the environment from the facility in question. This system examines various aspects of a location such as utility bills, water usage, waste management and the indoor quality of life. All of this data is entered into an easy to understand method of a rating from one through six.

Immense Data Requires Immense Power Requirements


The reason why this rating for data centers is so important is that data centres consume a significant portion of energy through their high cooling costs and continuous electrical usage. It is commonplace for servers, networking equipment, computers and other IT supported devices to consume a great deal of electricity for functionality. As data centers are focused on immense server and drive capacities, the amount of watts used to maintain a facility is nothing short of astounding. As Fujitsu has been awarded as a four-star facility, this is quite an accomplishment for a building type that thrives on power.

Keeping the Servers Cool


Some of the additions that help reduce the Noble Park Data Centre in Melbourne, is the "chilled cooling" system that relies on dissipating heat through water as opposed to electricity-draining air conditioning. The system cycles water to remove heat from affected areas to be recycled and cooled down before being pumped back into the area to absorb more heat.

Thermal Barrier Paint

Another aspect of the Fujitsu data center is the heat-reflective paint that coats the facility. This reflective paint acts as a thermal barrier in that it reflects heat rather than letting the facility absorb the sunlight. This barrier can reduce the temperature of an average home or facility by twenty degrees or more during the brightest of days. Reducing the internal temperature of a facility reduces the amount of energy that is needed in order to cool it down. 

The other side of that coin is the process in which the thermal barrier traps warm air into the building during the winter months. Thermal barrier paint additives redirect the heat back into the facility instead of allowing it to become absorbed by colder temperatures - thus reducing the need for heating during the winter. 

Clean Rating for a Dirty Locale


The Noble Park area is one of the most prominent producers of CO2 emissions in Victoria, let alone Australia as a whole. The grid relies on brown coal, which burns extremely dirty in comparison to other methods. Having a four-star facility within one of the "dirtiest" industrial areas sets the example to other developers.

Through innovative designs and implementation of available technologies, Fujitsu is pioneering a new way to construct data centers around the world. As sustainable methods continue to advance, Fujitsu is still pushing for the six-star rating as the company looks into other methods to become more sustainable. Implementing these practices can drive similar energy reductions in across Australia and throughout the world. Can this achievement spur interest in other facilities around the globe to do the same?

 

Author Byline:

This article is contributed by Madoline Hatter. Madoline is a freelance writer and blog junkie from ChangeOfAddressForm.com. You can reach her at: m.hatter12@gmail.com.