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Significantly Reduce Power Costs by Upgrading Your UPS.

by on December 3, 2009

Looking for ways to improve energy efficiency in your data center? You might want to take a closer look at your Uninterrupted Power Supply system.

An inefficient UPS expels heat, and the more heat in your data center, the more energy you’ll need to cool it down. By keeping the overall efficiency of your data center infrastructure high, cooling costs can be kept down to 50 percent or less of the total cost needed to power your equipment.

Poor energy efficiency, though, can totally skew your power picture. Such inefficiencies, studies have shown, can result in cooling costs amounting to 80 to 100 percent of what’s spent running all the hardware in your data center.


Fortunately for data center managers, UPS technology has steadily improved over the years. From efficiencies around 75 to 80 percent in the 1980s, UPS performance improved to 85 to 90 percent in 1990s and to 94 to 97 percent in this century.


Because of those improvements, significant gains can be achieved by swapping out old UPS units for newer ones. For example, a 10-year-old UPS could be wasting 150kW of power and generating 500,000 BTU of heat.


A state-of-the-art UPS would not only generate less heat, but it would free up another 120 kW or more of power for running computer hardware.


That kind of efficiency can translate into dollar savings, too. If you replace a UPS operating at 86 percent efficiency with a new one at 96 percent efficiency, you could save, at 10 cents per kwh, $70,000 a year in energy costs. And that doesn’t take into account the longer battery run times and cooler operation of the newer units.


As Chris Loeffler, a data center applications manager for distributed power solutions at the Eaton Corporation, wrote in a recently released white paper:


“With a more efficient allocation of power, you not only reduce utility bills and total operating cost, but also achieve more with available backup power and cooling systems–delaying the point where those systems would have to be upgraded to support data center expansion.”

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