# Calculating Total Cooling Requirements for Data Centers

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1 Calculating Total Cooling Requirements for Data Centers White Paper 25 Revision 3 by Neil Rasmussen > Executive summary This document describes how to estimate heat output from information technology (IT) equipment and other devices in a data center such as UPS, for purposes of sizing air conditioning systems. A number of common conversion factors and design guideline values are also included. Contents Click on a section to jump to it Introduction 2 Measuring heat output 2 Example of a typical system 4 Other heat sources 4 Humidification 5 Sizing air conditioning 5 Conclusion 6 Resources 7 white papers are now part of the Schneider Electric white paper library produced by Schneider Electric s Data Center Science Center

2 Introduction All electrical equipment produces heat, which must be removed to prevent the equipment temperature from rising to an unacceptable level. Most information technology equipment and other equipment found in a data center or network room is air-cooled. Sizing a cooling system requires an understanding of the amount of heat produced by the equipment contained in the enclosed space, along with the heat produced by the other heat sources typically encountered. Measuring heat output Heat is energy and is commonly expressed in Joules, BTU, Tons, or Calories. Common measures of heat output rate for equipment are BTU per hour, Tons per day, and Joules per second (Joules per second is equal to Watts). There is no compelling reason why all of these different measures are used to express the same commodities, yet any and all of them might be used to express power or cooling capacities. The mixed use of these measures causes a great deal of senseless confusion for users and specifiers. Fortunately, there is a worldwide trend among standard-setting organizations to move all power and cooling capacity measurements to a common standard, the Watt. The archaic terms of BTU and Tons will be phased out over time.1 For this reason, this paper will discuss cooling and power capacities in Watts. The use of the Watt as the common standard is fortuitous, because it simplifies the work associated with data center design as will be explained later. In North America, specifications for power and cooling capability are still often provided in the legacy BTU and Tons terms. For this reason, the following conversions are provided to assist the reader: Table 1 Heat output conversion table Given a value in Multiply by To get BTU per hour Watts Watts 3.41 BTU per hour Tons 3,530 Watts Watts Tons The power transmitted by computing or other information technology equipment through the data lines is negligible. Therefore, the power consumed from the AC power mains is essentially all converted to heat. This fact allows the thermal output of IT equipment in Watts to simply equal its power consumption in Watts. BTU per hour, as is sometimes provided in datasheets, is not necessary in determining the thermal output of equipment. The thermal output is simply the same as the power input 2. 1 The term Tons refers to the cooling capacity of ice and is a relic of the period from when refrigeration and air conditioning capacity were provided by the daily delivery of ice blocks. 2 Note: the one exception to this rule is Voice over IP (VoIP) Routers; in these devices up to 30% of the power consumed by the device may be transmitted to remote terminals, so their heat load may be lower than the electrical power they consume. Assuming that the entire electrical power is dissipated locally as is assumed in this paper will give a small overstatement of heat output for VoIP routers, an insignificant error in most cases. Schneider Electric Data Center Science Center White Paper 25 Rev 3 2

4 Data definitions Total IT load power in Watts - The sum of the power inputs of all the IT equipment. Power system rated power - The power rating of the UPS system. If a redundant system is used, do not include the capacity of the redundant UPS. Example of a typical system Related resource White Paper 37 Avoiding Costs from Oversizing Data Center and Network Room Infrastructure The thermal output of a typical system is described. A 5,000 ft 2, (465 m 2 ) 250 kw rated data center with 150 racks and a maximum staff of 20 is used as an example. In the example, it is assumed that the data center is loaded to 30% of capacity, which is typical. For a discussion of typical utilization, see White Paper 37, Avoiding Costs from Oversizing Data Center and Network Room Infrastructure. The total IT load of the data center in this case would be 30% of 250 kw, or 75 kw. Under this condition, the total data center thermal output is105 kw, or approximately 50% more than the IT load. In the typical example, the relative contribution of the various types of items in the data center to the total thermal output is shown in Figure 1. Pwr Dist 4% Personnel 2% Lighting 10% Figure 1 Relative contributions to the total thermal output of a typical data center UPS 13% IT Loads 71% Note that the contributions to the thermal output of the UPS and the power distribution are amplified by the fact that the system is operating at only 30% of capacity. If the system was operating at 100% of capacity, the efficiency of the power systems would increase and their relative contributions to the thermal output of the system would decrease. The significant loss of efficiency is a real cost of oversizing a system. Other heat sources The prior analysis ignores sources of environmental heat such as sunlight through windows and heat conducted in from outside walls. Many small data centers and network rooms do not have walls or windows to the outside, so there is no error resulting from this assumption. However, for large data centers with walls or a roof exposed to the outdoors, additional heat enters the data center which must be removed by the air conditioning system. Schneider Electric Data Center Science Center White Paper 25 Rev 3 4

6 Conclusion The determination of cooling requirements for IT systems can be reduced to a simple process that can be done by anyone without special training. Expressing all measures of power and cooling in Watts simplifies the process. A general rule is that a CRAC system rating must be 1.3 times the anticipated IT load rating plus any capacity added for redundancy. This approach works well with smaller network rooms of under 4,000 ft 2 (372 m 2 ). For larger data centers, the cooling requirements alone are typically not sufficient to select an air conditioner. Typically, the effects of other heat sources such as walls and roof, along with recirculation, are significant and must be examined for a particular installation. The design of the air handling ductwork or raised floor has a significant effect on the overall system performance, and also greatly affects the uniformity of temperature within the data center. The adoption of a simple, standardized, and modular air distribution system architecture, combined with the simple heat load estimation method described, could significantly reduce the engineering requirements for data center design. About the author Neil Rasmussen is a Senior VP of Innovation for Schneider Electric. He establishes the technology direction for the world s largest R&D budget devoted to power, cooling, and rack infrastructure for critical networks. Neil holds 19 patents related to high-efficiency and high-density data center power and cooling infrastructure, and has published over 50 white papers related to power and cooling systems, many published in more than 10 languages, most recently with a focus on the improvement of energy efficiency. He is an internationally recognized keynote speaker on the subject of highefficiency data centers. Neil is currently working to advance the science of high-efficiency, high-density, scalable data center infrastructure solutions and is a principal architect of the APC InfraStruXure system. Prior to founding APC in 1981, Neil received his bachelors and masters degrees from MIT in electrical engineering, where he did his thesis on the analysis of a 200MW power supply for a tokamak fusion reactor. From 1979 to 1981 he worked at MIT Lincoln Laboratories on flywheel energy storage systems and solar electric power systems. Schneider Electric Data Center Science Center White Paper 25 Rev 3 6

7 Resources Click on icon to link to resource Avoiding Costs from Oversizing Data Center and Network Room Infrastructure White Paper 37 Humidification Strategies for Data Centers and Network Rooms White Paper 58 White Paper Library whitepapers.apc.com TradeOff Tools tools.apc.com Contact us For feedback and comments about the content of this white paper: Data Center Science Center If you are a customer and have questions specific to your data center project: Contact your Schneider Electric representative Schneider Electric Data Center Science Center White Paper 25 Rev 3 7

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