Energy Efficient Building Infrastructures

Energy consumed by networking components, compute and storage systems, electrical losses in the electricity supply chain, and the electrical energy spent for cooling all systems are added together to compute the overall energy consumption in a data center. Modern data centers operate at surcharges for power distribution and cooling in the order of 30% to 50% of the energy spent on operating the IT equipment. It is therefore a major goal of LRZ to reduce losses in the power supply chain and surcharges for cooling of the IT systems.

It is necessary to monitor all energy losses and the energy consumption of all infrastructure components required to operate the IT equipment in order to minimize the overall energy consumption. That’s why the building extension in the year 2011 also featured the installation of equipment for individually monitoring all infrastructure components. The building extension also features an additional cooling loop for directly cooling the most power hungry components (CPUs, memory, chipset, etc.) with water of up to 55°C (131°F). This so called “warm water cooling loop” has a maximum capacity of 8 megawatts and is used to cool the two supercomputers SuperMUC and CoolMUC. The benefits of direct warm water cooling over traditional cooling technologies are:

  • Computers can be cooled using free cooling (i.e. without the user of chillers) year-round. The surcharge for cooling is only in the range of 10%.
  • The waste heat of the IT systems can be used for heating in winter.
  • The superior cooling efficiency also results in a higher energy efficiency: at water inlet temperatures of up to 60°C (140°F), the power consumption is still lower than on a system cooled with air of 20°C (68°F).
  • During summer, the waste heat can be used for chilling using adsorption refrigeration.