Beyond Controls: Machine Learning Leverages Big Data to Drive Cooling Systems in Data Centers

10:00AM - 6:00PM
Raven Jones, P.E., C.E.M.

Energy Engineer
Wildan Energy Solutions

Data center cooling is the most important and often the least understood task of all critical facility processes. Unlike comfort cooling, each critical facility is a unique space requiring precise heat removal. Most current research focuses on new infrastructure technology, rather than optimizing existing facility systems. This detailed case study seeks to close this knowledge gap by addressing how to optimize and create versatility in a facility's existing HVAC system with the utilization of high granularity cooling performance data and artificial intelligence optimization. The greatest resource for optimizing HVAC units in a data center is the performance data that can be acquired from its cooling system. This paper analyzes pre- and post-installation data that demonstrate a decrease in energy usage by as much as 30% by utilizing data from distributed sensors, and input into a machine learning algorithm which controls fan and cooling set points on existing equipment. We give special attention to the implementation of machine learning, which reaches beyond building controls, leveraging a facility's data to make its systems smarter in ways not possible or practical before the introduction of artificial intelligence. Energy, utility and operational savings are attained by not only controlling, but optimizing cooling units to deliver cool air only to where it is needed by the most efficient equipment.