Environmentally Friendly Servers

By | 8th April 2019
half heigh server rack

One of our half height server racks

Here at Mark Andrew Smith Limited, we care about the environment.  So much so, we have been concerned for some time about he amount of electricity we consume not only in operating the servers, but also, in the air conditioning used to keep them cool.

We are always looking at ways in reducing our operating costs, carbon footprint, and also carbon offsetting where we cannot.  Here, in this article, we talk about what we are doing to help save the planet and still continue to provide a first class clustered server solution.

Pictured, is one of our half height server racks.  Inside, we have three server chassis running virtual servers with 24 CPU’s, 192 Gb of memory and approximately 60Tb of disc space, which consumes 7 amps of electricity 24/7/365 or 4.3 tons of green house carbon annually.

Server Air Conditioning Costs

When a server is deployed, it needs to be kept cool.  Traditionally, this is done with air-conditioning, and roughly speaking, for every amp of electricity consumed, it takes a further amp in air conditioning in which to cool those servers.  Without air-conditioning, our servers will heat the ambient air around them to around 30 degrees C.

On the other hand, unlike servers that like to be kept cool, a human likes to be kept warm.  Doesn’t it seem irresponsible to the environment if we are using air-conditioning to cool the servers, and then still use gas to heat our offices?  Surely, we can take that server exhaust heat and pipe it to our office?

Reusing Server Waste Heat

So, on a winters morning, without any form of heating in our offices, our offices would only be a chilly 4 degrees C, and we would need considerable gas in which to raise the temperature from 4 degrees C to 14 degrees C.  Surely, we could take some of that 30 degree C waste server exhaust to increase the office temperature.

fresh air venting for servers

Server hot air extraction.

Indeed, that is exactly what we are doing.  What we have done is to add to our half height rack some industrial high capacity hydroponic fans to exhaust the server’s dry exhaust heat to our offices in the floor above.  You can see one of the fans as the blue bulbous shaped device attached to the top of the server rack.  The fans have a capacity of moving about 300 cubic metres of air per hour, and are quite quiet due to the shaped metal impellers and roller bearings.

There are some pumping losses of heat radiating through the sides of the pipe, but, we are still able to raise the office temperature from 4 degrees C to 14 degrees C.  This means a steady ambient air temperture 24/7.

Since implementing the waste heat recycling, we have only had to burn gas on only the coldest of mornings effectively reducing our gas bill to almost nil at this location, and our air-conditioning bill to zero.

Thank You

We would however like to thank you all as clients for choosing us to write your bespoke software for your business and host it on our server platform, and for keeping our staff warm via the environmentally friendly reuse of the server’s exhaust waste heat.

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