Information technology (IT) has brought significant changes in people’s lives. As an important part of the IT industry, data centres (DCs) have been rapidly growing in both the number and size over the past 40 years. Around 30% to 40% of electricity consumption in DCs is used for space cooling, thus leading to very inefficient DC operation. To identify ways to reduce the energy consumption for space cooling and increase the energy efficiency of DCs’ operation, a dedicated investigation into the energy usage in DCs has been undertaken and a novel high performance dew point cooling system was introduced into a DC operational scheme. Based on the cooling load in DCs, a case study was carried out to evaluate the energy consumptions and energy usage effectiveness when using the novel dew point cooling system in different scales of DCs in various climates. It was found that by using the novel dew point cooling system, for 10 typical climates a DC can have a much lower power usage effectiveness (PUE) of 1.10 to 1.22 compared to that of 1.7 to 3.7 by using existing traditional cooling systems, leading to significantly increased energy efficiency of the DC operation. In addition, the energy performance by managing the cooling air supply at the different levels in DCs, i.e., room, row and rack level, was simulated by using a dynamic computer model. It was found that cooling air supply at rack level can provide a higher energy efficiency in DCs. Based on the above work, the energy saving potential in DCs was conducted by comparing DCs using an the novel dew point cooling system and the optimum management scheme for the cooling air supply to that using traditional air cooling systems and the same supply air management. Annual electricity consumptions for the two cases were given. It was found that by using the novel dew point cooling system and optimum management system for the cooling air supply, an 87.7~91.6% electricity consumption saving for space cooling in DCs could be achieved in 10 typical cities at 10 selected climatic conditions.
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