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The Green Grid: Resources for Free Cooling

Free Air Cooling is Catching on in

The Data Center Industry


It seems that everyone in the data center industry these days is looking to find the most efficient and cheap way to run their facility. It makes sense when you think about it. Why spend more and narrow your profit margin, when you could be actively seeking ways to reduce the cost of keeping your server farm efficiently up and running. With reducing project budgets and more economic pressure, data center management are considering all savings opportunities and free cooling is one of them.

Data center industry leaders are leading this trend.

EBay is currently running their data center, Project Mercury, in Phoenix AZ, at industry high temperatures of 80+ degrees Fahrenheit and is still able to maintain a PUE of 1.046 when the desert sun spikes to a scorching 115+ degrees. Project Mercury uses warm water to cool the facility and in a case study released by The Green Grid, was able to show that this method of high temperature cooling is as efficient as running data centers at cooler temperatures.

Facebook’s Prineville data center in Washington St. and facility in Sweden were both built to use 100 percent “free” cooling and have also both been very successful in keeping low PUEs. Google’s data center in Belgium has no chillers and simply relies on the cold temperatures of the climate to keep their servers cool. The facility only relies on its backup internal air-conditioning on an average of 7 days a year.

As more data centers turn to free cooling methods, it is understandable that The Green Grid would update and release new free air cooling maps and resources. The updated Free Air Cooling Maps take into account new ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers) regulations and now include two new classifications of data centers and have expanded the range of allowable environmental conditions in hopes of encouraging more energy efficient practices. The updates maps are published in a white paper released by the Green Grid and graphically show the potential for free cooling, under ideal conditions, in any location in North America, Europe, and Japan. In addition to the maps The Green Grid has made it simpler for data center managers to calculate the estimated savings of free cooling by launching a webpage that has an easy to use free cooling savings calculator.

So as the data center industry continues to progress towards a more green and efficient way of operating, The Green Grid continues to stay in the forefront of these efforts by publishing and introducing information to help make sure the industry stays on the right path.


White Paper #46 – Updated Air-Side Free Cooling Maps: The Impact of ASHRAE 2011 Allowable Ranges-

The Green Grid- Free-Cooling Estimated Savings Calculator-

The Green Grid- North American Free Air Cooling Low Res Map – ASHRAE Class A2-

The Green Grid- North American Free Air Cooling Low Res Map – ASHRAE Class A3-

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