COLUMBUS, OH-Emerson Network Power released results from a recent industry survey that provides insight into the actions some data center operators have taken to increase the efficiency of their facilities and identifies the challenges organizations face in driving additional improvements.

According to the survey, the majority of respondents have made operational improvements to increase energy efficiency. Seventy-seven percent have their data center arranged in a hot aisle/cold aisle configuration to increase cooling system efficiency, 65 percent use blanking panels to minimize recirculation of hot air, and 56 percent have sealed the floor to prevent cooling losses. The survey also shows the growing popularity of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to identify hotspots and optimize airflow within the facility, with 25 percent of respondents having already conducted a CFD analysis of their facilities.

 The survey was conducted by the Data Center Users’ Group (DCUG), a group of influential data center, IT, and facility managers formed by Emerson Network Power. It was completed in coordination with the U.S. EPA and Lawrence Berkeley National Labs to support the EPA’s recently released “Report to Congress on Server and Data Center Energy Efficiency.”

According to the survey, challenges that data center professionals face as they try to reduce energy use include “lack of management priority” (40 percent), “not clearly understanding the cost/benefit relationship” (36 percent), “not wanting to risk reliability” (35 percent) and “lack of communication between IT and facilities” (33 percent).

Other survey results show that, on average, 60 percent of the data center electrical load is used to power IT equipment, with approximately 56 percent of that being used to power servers, 27 percent for storage, and 19 percent for network equipment. In addition, 41 percent of survey respondents said their data center electrical usage is not metered separately from the rest of their facilities. Forty-one percent of respondents also noted that they did not have a dedicated facility for their data center.