Forty-nine percent of data centers are now using economizers to achieve cost and energy reductions, according to The Green Grid.

Research carried out earlier this year and now released publicly for the first time shows that the use of economizers has reached a tipping point, with half of respondents saying that they already used them and a further 24 percent considering their use in the near future.

“We were not expecting such a high adoption figure when we began this research,” explains Mark Monroe, Executive Director of The Green Grid. “What we are witnessing is a technology that is maturing far faster than previously thought. We now need to make sure that data center managers have the tools they need to understand how and what the best economizer options are for optimum deployment.”

The return on investment from adoption is convincing, with respondents registering an average saving of 20 percent on energy costs and 7 percent on maintenance costs.

“Interestingly our research found that despite these impressive results, more can still be achieved,” Monroe continues. “Responses showed that there is an average 4,724 hours per year available in which economizers can be used effectively, however their actual use amongst the sample averaged at 3,943 hours or 80 per cent of the time.”

The main reasons for the 20 percent gap were concerns with switching over between economizer and mechanical cooling systems and maintenance of the economizer itself. Moving forward, we need to look at how we can tighten the transition between economizer and mechanical cooling technology and shorten required maintenance time.

The most significant barriers to change include difficulty in retrofitting existing facilities, reliability concerns and initial deployment costs.

However, the satisfaction levels indicated by the survey suggest that any challenges are worth it, with eight out of ten people saying that they would recommend their specific type of economizer to others.