Natural Lighting in Data Center-Is it Viable?

Data center facility managers are always in a race to go green, save costs and be the best in the industry. There is a rise in trends which have something to do with either streamlining energy control or integrating the available technologies in an eco-friendly way to produce efficient data centers. Although the data center have minimum manpower, they still require a good light source round the clock so that the people (whenever they are working) don’t trip on their own foot and fall on a server and you don’t end up losing your precious data. The latest trend of going green at the drop of the hat (never mind that you just threw your empty plastic bottle on the road) has driven the designers to plan their designs keeping the abundantly available natural light in mind.

Natural Lighting in all its Glory:

The use of natural lighting is very much promoted by the Energy councils of Europe and United States. There are some companies who are building their new data centers with more access to natural light incorporated in their designs. They are also harnessing solar power for use at night time to minimize their carbon footprints. Many leading companies are roped in to get best possible technical help to set up the most efficient data centers. In spite of all the good marketing and healthy results, this alternative does not have many takers.

Why is it Risky?

The simplest way to design a data center and utilize all that nature’s goodness natural light is to have lots of windows and sky lights. The best part about these design changes is that they can be easily accommodated in the existing structure. While natural lighting reduces the dependence on power consumption it also has its own set of risks and problems. It does leave quite a bit of chance of occurrence of the risks and this is one of the reasons why it is not so much preferred. Let us see some of the problems which one might face with the natural lighting set up.

  •  The heat generated due to natural light sources is another challenge posed by the data center experts as it would result in additional temperature management; Also the cost of  changing an existing data center setup  to natural lighting set up is also quite considerable.
  •  Another reason for this eco-friendly alternative not getting the much needed support from the data centers community is because of the limit of energy requirement for lighting of the data centers. It means that the operational requirement for lighting in a data center is very low .That is why the data center developers don’t have the budget to spend too much money for the same.

Alternatives to Save Energy

The current trend to save energy in a data center is by employing motion sensors. It is more efficient as the need of light in data centers is below four hours per day. Moreover, during night hours, since there is no availability of natural light ,lights have to be switched on. LED based lighting solutions are also quite popular as their energy requirement is less and they also have a long shelf life.

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