NREL's ESIF Data Center
In addition to its significant high-performance computing (HPC) capabilities, NREL's HPC data center located in the Energy Systems Integration Facility's (ESIF) is designed to be one of the most energy-efficient data centers in the world. Using best-in-class technologies, the data center serves as a showcase facility for demonstrating data center energy efficiency. This data center achieved an annualized average power usage effectiveness (PUE) rating of 1.04 in 2016.
How We Do It
The NREL HPC data center is using warm-water liquid cooling to achieve this very low PUE, then capturing and reusing that waste heat as the primary heat source in the ESIF offices and laboratory space, and to condition ventilation make-up air. These technologies substantially reduce the amount of energy used by the entire building, saving energy and money in new and effective ways.
There are no mechanical or compressor-based cooling systems for the NREL HPC data center. Cooling liquid is supplied indirectly from evaporative cooling towers. And a recently installed thermosyphon—an advanced dry cooler that uses refrigerant in a passive cycle to dissipate heat—is reducing onsite water consumption in the cooling towers without negative impacts on the HPC data center’s efficiency.