News Analysis

Warm-Water Cooling Translates to Data Center Efficiency

March 26, 2013

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will soon complete its new high-performance computing (HPC) data center and Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) offices and laboratories in Golden, Colorado. The data center will use warm-water liquid cooling, with 75°F water pumped in from cooling towers to achieve a power usage effectiveness (PUE) rating of 1.06.

The temperature of the cooling water is set higher than is conventional, allowing the use of the cooling towers instead of compressor-based mechanical chillers. The water will exceed 100°F by the time it leaves the data center; it will then provide the primary heat source for the ESIF offices and labs and will also run under outdoor walkways to melt snow and ice.