Smart lights, bright data center

A law firm put smart lights in its renovated data center to get more out of energy efficiency.

I have some lights in my kitchen and dining room that I’d love to change out. But frankly, there’s nothing really wrong with them except that I don’t like their look. And I keep telling myself, function over form… function over form.

Apparently, a west coast-based law firm grew tired of the lighting in its Mountain View, Calif.-based data center and took the opportunity to swap it all out during a recent renovation. Fortunately, the law firm went with function over function.

I came across the story here, on the Consulting –Specifying Engineer Magazine web site. I pulled some of the highlights I thought you’d find interesting.

So the law firm is Fenwick and West LLP, a national law firm with offices in California, Washington and Idaho that specializes in technology and life sciences. When the firm updated its 2,000-square-foot data center, it focused on energy efficiencies across the board, such as cold aisle containment and controlled airflow management. Its efforts helped the data center attain its U.S. Green Building Council LEED Gold certification, according to the article.

Included in the renovation was the selection of LED fixtures and Redwood Systems’ lighting technology. The lighting system centralizes control of the data center’s lighting, with web-based access, improved lighting quality, and increased visibility into the facility’s energy usage, the article states. The system lets the firm use light in its data center only when and to the degree needed, and analyze data gathered on each individual light fixture to enhance configuration and space utilization. There are sensors attached to the LED fixtures that can detect people’s presence in the data center and respond by lighting only the pathways in use. The article also reports that Redwood’s platform was installed on a separate track to the HVAC system – which was a request of Fenwick and West.

So has there been any improvement? Well, according to the article, the technology has improved the data center’s lighting efficiency by approximately 90%. The LED fixtures run at cooler temperatures than the previous lights, which in turn have reduced HVAC operations in the facility, the article states. The combination of the lighting and other energy-efficient technologies has led to a significant decrease the energy consumption of the data center, contributing to a 1.18 PUE overall.

I guess I never knew how even the most unassuming details pertaining to the construction and operation of a data center can impact the facility’s overall operations and environmental footprint. But they do. I have seen the light, and now would really like to swap out the lights in my house. This time, however, it’s for function over function. I want a smart lighting system that knows when my kid leaves his room, and turns off the light.

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