University of Coimbra - Portugal
The Laboratory of Advanced Computer of the Coimbra University installed a free-cooling system. When outdoor temperature is below the indoor temperature, cold ambient air is drawn inside the data centre to accomplish cooling while the conventional mechanical chilling system is off (or in standby). The free cooling system allowed for energy savings of about 90 MWh/year, while providing similar environmental conditions as in the old system (same temperatures).
The free cooling system allowed for energy savings of about 90 MWh/year, corresponding to a PUE decreased by 0.2 points. The temperature conditions remained the same; however the relative humidity was increased from 50%-70% to 80% with the new system.
The equipment was 100% financed by a program of the Portuguese utility within the scope of the DSM Portuguese program. The installation costs of the system were about €6,040 (50 % financed by the program). Taking into account the financial incentive, the payback period was estimated to be around one year.
The free-cooling system was about 170,000 BTU/hour. It was implemented between 2008 and 2010 and concerned 132 servers. The measurement concept was based on an energy consumption monitoring (every 15 minutes during one week). The measurement points for energy consumption were the data centre panel board and HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) panel board. As fans, humidifiers or dehumidifiers and controls were the only power consuming components, airside economisers offered a great opportunity for energy savings.
The mission of the Laboratory of Advanced Computer is to support the research efforts of scientists who use high-performance computing in their work. In addition, the laboratory provides support for advanced computing learning programs within the University. In particular, the Laboratory is involved in:
- Evaluation and deployment of performance computing resources, including both computing systems and software
- Provision of expert consulting and documentation to assist researchers in using these resources effectively
- Collaboration with other computing centres and other Universities to enhance the capabilities of the Laboratory resources