To cool data centers, let the breeze flow in

The Green Grid releases a Web-based tool to evaluate how much outdoor air can be used during colder months to naturally cool energy-dense data centers.

The Green Grid consortium has a radical idea for cooling energy-intensive data centers: opening the window.

The group on Thursday released an online tool for evaluating how data centers in North America can tap the outside air to augment data center air conditioning systems during cooler weather.

Green Grid

The tool lets people calculate, based on a ZIP code, how much outdoor air could save in cooling, a significant contribution to data center operating costs. In many places, the outdoor air is cooler than the temperature inside data centers.

The Green Grid said that a data center in San Jose, Calif., could save $66,000 a year with outside air cooling and one in Herndon, Va., could get $20,000 a year in free cooling.

Outdoor air cooling is already done among some new data data centers designed with energy efficiency in mind.

Hosting company ADC (Advanced Data Centers) opened a facility in Sacramento, Calif., last year that got a platinum level LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building certification. It will be 25 percent to 30 percent more energy efficient than the industry standard, in part by using an outdoor air circulation system.