Data center energy efficient overhaul - Smart Energy Decisions

Energy Efficiency, Utilities  -  June 22, 2017 - By Amy Poszywak

Pennsylvania university touts largest efficiency project

As an increasing number of colleges and universities turn to energy use reductions as a way to lower their expenses, a Pennsylvania university is on track to save thousands after deploying a series of upgrades that the institution says collectively represent its largest energy efficiency project to-date. 

Millersville University on June 19 said it recently completed work to migrate its data center, resulting in several energy efficiency upgrades that have resulted in at least a 20% reduction in electricity, saving more 286,380 kWh. Additionally, Millersville is set to receive an incentive check in July for more than $17,000 from its utility's business efficiency program, which includes higher education institutions, the university said in a news update

"By replacing our outdated facility with a design incorporating the latest technology, we will have the infrastructure necessary to support our growing technological needs for many years to come," Nancy Pruskowski, associate vice president/CIO of Information Technology for the university said in the post. "In addition, the reduction in energy consumption will not only help us to attain our sustainability goals but also reduce our overall operating expenses."

The new data center transitioned from using computer room air conditioning units to a closed-room system with a central air-conditioned passage that reduces the amount of cooled space needed to keep the servers operating optimally,  the university said. 

"This is probably the single biggest energy efficiency project we have completed since releasing our Climate Action Plan," sustainability manager Chris Steuer said. "The annual electricity savings would almost be enough to power two Lombardo Welcome Centers — the net zero energy building that's currently under construction."

The university's utility, PPL Corp., is required by state law to develop plans to encourage energy efficiency and conservation among their customers. Those plans include rebates for new appliances, lighting and windows, energy audits and refrigerator recycling programs.

MU’s rebate was calculated based on the energy savings and the cost factors of the project. The University Data Center was considered a custom project and is paid at a rate of $0.06 per kWh savings over a one-year period.

“Participating in PPL Electric Utilities’ Energy Efficiency Program helps us reduce the overall costs of our energy-efficiency projects. It’s a great incentive and one that we’re happy to raise awareness of among our fellow universities and the business community,” says Steuer.


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