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Data centers need electricity to function. The electricity is required to keep all the technology housed in the data centers running smoothly. From computer components like servers, routers, switches and firewall to supporting components like lighting, air conditioning and others require electricity.

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On an average, data centers may need kilowatts that cover several billion hours.  The electricity consumption can cost business owners in America more than $13 billion annually. Of this enormous amount, nearly 5% is taken up for lighting.

Although this is a minor percentage, with efficient lighting, data center owners can save on the energy consumption. By using lighting fixtures that are energy efficient, you can reduce many expenses related to lighting. For instance, in conventional lighting fixtures maintenance can cost a huge amount.

Our data center LEDs are designed to last longer and more significantly they ensure the work environment is improved with the bright and efficient light sources. They are completely safe and compatible with the electrical components. The LEDs are beneficial for the technological components in the center.

How to Make a Data Center Lighting System Efficient

 

1. LEDs Ensure Precise And Economical Usage

Data centers occupy large spaces which need extensive lighting. More often the lights are left on by technicians purposely as there may be multiple people working in an area unbeknownst to others. Or, they just forget to shut off the lights.  This leads to more energy consumption than necessary.

To save energy costs on lighting, data centers require high PUE (Power Utilization Effectiveness) levels. This can be achieved only by replacing the conventional light bulbs with energy efficient LEDs. Data center LED lights are recommended by Telecommunication Infrastructure Standards. Adding LEDs with sophisticated light controls ensures minimal lights are used with maximum lighting.

Combining LEDs with smart lighting controls boosts the usage efficiency. The controls verify room temperature and occupancy and optimize lighting by dimming them when needed improving efficiency.

The LEDs have motion sensors fixed to them, which enables spotting the location of a technician. The system then switches on with a specific intensity providing spot lighting. This ensures economic and efficient lighting.

The data centers in Oregon and North Carolina have high PUE due to the networked and smart LED light fixtures in them. The lighting has enabled reduction in electricity consumption by 70% than the conventional fluorescent lighting fixtures.

2. Boost Energy Efficiency With LEDs

The conventional fluorescent bulbs drain time and resources due to their inefficient lighting technology. Relying on the outdated technology can be expensive for data centers. In contrast, the electricity consumption is reduced by about 80% when LEDs are used.

With LEDs it is possible to get superior quality lighting, longer life span, and better efficiency. LED lights have a lifespan that is three time more than the conventional light bulbs.

In a well reputed infrastructure, LEDs have minimized energy consumption by 65% annually. The company had around 6,000 LEDs set up in New York in the place of fluorescent T12 tubes in a couple of the data centers it owns.

3. Longer Lifespan With LEDs

In spite of dimming feature being added to fluorescent bulbs used today, they have serval disadvantages. Most importantly their life span is not as long as LED lights.

For instance, using a spotlight technology in lights require them to withstand the constant switching. The lights need to be switched on and off based on the presence of technicians inside the workspace.

The reduced lifespan also causes increased maintenance costs. On an average, fluorescent tubes last about 6000 to 7000 hours. The time is reduced further by multiple starts. Since data centers have hundreds of such fluorescent tubes, the maintenance of the lights is an expensive process once the lifespan ends.

Disposal is another drawback with the fluorescent tubes. The mercury present in the lights are toxic making it difficult to dispose. The lights have to be separately disposed to avoid mercury contamination of the environment. And in case of accidental breaks at the workplace, workers are at risk of exposure to mercury.

Data center LEDs in contrast have a longer lifespan of over a decade. The lifespan is around 100,000 hours and they provide superior quality lighting without generation of heat. This is five times more than the longevity of HID and fluorescent tubes.

Unlike fluorescent tubes that diminish in the light quality early on in their lifespan which worsens with time, LEDs maintain their high quality for a longer time. They have about 70% lumen maintenance so the maintenance costs on replacing them is very minimal.

LEDs are highly durable and are robustly made. Their design elements ensure they have longer lifespan and the quality of the lights is also reliable.

LEDs do not break easily due to the durable parts they are made from. In contrast, fluorescent and HID bulbs are made of fragile and delicate parts, which are prone to break, if not handled properly. Further LED disposal is also not an issue as the materials are fully recyclable. The lights do not have any harmful materials thus disposing them is easier.

Another advantage you get with LEDs is their sustained light output. You need not worry about burnout or reduced light intensity as seen in fluorescent bulbs. The light intensity in fluorescent bulbs reduce with continuous usage. You need to replace the lamps at regular intervals to ensure the lighting remains safe and functional.

4. LEDs Generate Minimal Heat

The less heat generating capacity, reduced electricity consumption, and complete dimmability are three main factors that make LEDs ideal for data centers. This is why the Telecommunication Infrastructure Standard recommends LED lights.

LEDs help save the huge electricity consumption of HVAC systems in Data centers. In case of fluorescent bulbs, the heat generated is 90% more than LEDs. HVAC systems help in reducing the heat generated by various devices used in a data center. One of the main uses of a HVAC system is to mitigate the heat given out by lights which remain on for longer periods of time due to safety purposes.

Although lighting uses up just a minor fraction of the energy consumption in data centers, it influences the cooling costs largely. HVACs use of electricity is second only to the electricity consumption of core equipment in data centers. They use nearly 40% of energy.

Installation of LEDs may be expensive, but their design excellence helps in minimizing the heat load on HVAC systems. Some of the benefits include the complete dimmable quality of LEDs. This reduces the energy used by them and the load on HVAC systems. For example, if an LED reduces about 3 Watts of energy, the reduction in HVAC load will be about one watt.

Rows of LED Fixtures

Energy-Saving Lighting Solutions for Data Centers

 

Dimming Of Lights

Lighting systems in data centers are set up to be used on demand. Further video surveillance of data centers requires continuous lighting.

However, the surveillance systems depend on video more and require bare minimum of lighting for optimal operation. You can provide sufficient surveillance enabling lighting system, if you dim the LED lights to 20% of the full capacity.  They rely more on good quality lights than massive light quantities. The surveillance is better with superior quality light producing LEDs.

The LEDs are capable of switching over to their full intensity when human activity is detected. LEDs have a diverse range of dimming mechanisms and the best part is the lighting quality is not affected by the dimming feature.

How LED Dimming Works In A Data Center

The dimming feature is not available in all LEDs. Ensure your LED fixture has the dimming feature. For the dimming, a dimmable driver of 0 to 10v is needed. In some smaller LEDs a compatible triac dimming process that can be used with dimmer switches mounted on the wall is used. This can be seen in LED Pars.

 

 

White Surfaces Offer Better Efficiency

Black color is a predominant theme in data centers. You can find cables, cabinets, and equipment all in black. However recently data centers have switched over to white surfaces as this can save considerable amount of energy.

Black surfaces are difficult to view when the intensity of light is low such as when you dim the lights. Visual effect is also impaired when the lights are off. To avoid this difficulty, data centers use auxiliary lights or angled lights.

But installation of special lights for combating the difficulty is not always effective. Flashlights or headlamps are often used by technicians when they tend to the machines. By using more of white surfaces, data centers can save more energy.

For a 5500 sq. ft. data center that uses 475 kW electricity, it is possible to reduce electricity consumption by 30%. The use of white paints will increase the Light Reflectance Value by 80%. Black color has an LRV value of 5%. Thus, using white color will ensure you need less light from artificial sources.

By 30% load reduction, you can have a 5% reduction on the entire light usage of your data center. White cables and white equipment do not absorb light as black color does. This makes the space look more visible, brighter, and spacious. Less number of lights will be required than in a black room.

The wall colors should also be changed to lighter and reflective shades. This includes the ceilings too. With light reflective colors the brightness is increased manifold. A good way to check the brightness value is by looking at the Light Reflectance Values. Wall paints have LRVs highlighted so you can ensure you are buying the right color.

With white colored cabinets, lighter shades on the walls and ceilings, and white cables, the space will not absorb much light and appear brighter. This also creates better contrast for the black colored equipment used. Technicians are able to view the equipment without the help of flashlights. This reduces human errors and improves efficiency.

 

 

How White Surfaces Benefit Data Centers

  • They increase energy savings towards energy used for lighting by 30%. This is because the white surfaces reflect light by about 80%.
  • Equipment installation and maintenance is easier for technicians due to the brighter lighting. The light-colored fans, panels, and servers also make it easier to work for the crew.
  • Better visibility is present with neutral colors. Even with dimmed lights, the visibility is not affected. As white helps in making other colors visible, the crew are able to see the dark colored apparatus placed in the white cabinets easily.
  • The appearance will be fresh and unique as most data centers have a dark colored theme all over.

Light Zones

The lighting design of a data center should meet with the usage requirements of the place. The light fixtures need to be positioned for better visibility such as above aisles and in between the cabinets. Further the technicians who work on the equipment require higher intensity lights than for the video surveillance.

Thus, data centers need to have separate light zones such as

Level 1: Surveillance Zones

The areas where cameras for surveillance are located do not need bright or intense lights. Such areas require dimmable data center LEDs.

Level 2: Entry Zones

For the entry zones, light sufficient enough for technicians to enter and exit a safe space is required. The entry zones require motion sensors to switch on the lights nearest to the entry point. The LEDs light up the aisles enabling safe movement and enhance identification for the surveillance systems.

Level 3: Operating Zones

Such zones need sufficient light for carrying out maintenance work properly. The light level of the horizontal plane should be at 500 lux and 200 lux for the vertical plane. This measurement applies to data centers that are 1-meter height from the finished floor level.

 

Appealing Interiors

Ergonomics play a major role workplace dynamic. The American Society of Interior Designers found that more than 68% of employees did not like the lighting due to ergonomic factors. Light is very significant for ergonomics, but is often not given the due importance.

When the lighting is not sufficient, it causes eye strain for technicians and triggers several health issues like headaches and fatigue. These affect productivity. Drowsiness and impaired focus are also caused due to insufficient lighting.

The blue or green fluorescent lights used conventionally in data centers with dark colored walls, equipment, and cabinets were damaging the staff morale. Many workers started using task lights of their own to improve visibility and accuracy. The additional lighting also improved ambience.

The fluorescent tubes setup in huge numbers to light up the dark spots caused migraine and eye strain in many workplaces. Over brightness or dim lighting can cause damage to cortisol levels leading to stress. There will be difficulty in stabilizing energy levels and balance.

To counter the imbalance brought about by artificial light, natural light is the best remedy. Energy levels and hormonal balance are restored boosting the morale of technicians. This will enable fewer sicknesses and more productivity.

Most data centers lack natural light by design. Hence there is significant need for optimal lighting. Data center LEDs have the property of providing glare free lighting and you can control the light using dimmer switches. When dimmers are added to data center LEDs you can create the natural light ambience.

Task lights serve as additional light sources for use on desks, when the overhead lights are dimmed. They give a minimalistic appearance while bringing energy savings.

Boost Work Environment With The Right Color Temperature

For a comfortable and healthy data center environment, color temperature has to be optimal. It not only enhances the workplace aesthetically but also impacts the mood and emotional quality of the space. How the lights appear to a person is indicated by the color temperature. The light color is an easy identification sign for finding the temperature.

For measuring color temperature, Kelvin (K) unit is used. Blue colored lights have a color temperature of 5000K and more. Yellow lights have a color temperature of 2700 K and as the temperature increases to 3500 K, the yellow light reduces.  Lights with high Kelvin units are cooler than the lower value lights, which are warm.

Choosing Lights Based On Color Temperature

 

Color temperature of 2300 K to 2700 K

This temperature is seen in white light with slight yellow hue. Such lights are very warm and are used in restaurants, hospitality, and residential environments. The color creates a cozy and warm atmosphere.

Color temperature of 3000K to 4000 K

The light is neutral to warm white light and is ideal for areas where attention to detail is important. Data centers, retail stores, offices, and libraries use this color range. It is a business and productive focused light.

Color temperature of 5000K

This is a cool white light that has high intensity. It is used in industrial, manufacturing, and warehouse environments. Focusing on intricate details is easier with this light. It provides a clean and appealing appearance, and is perfect for operations that depend on visual precision.

Select the appropriate data center color temperature

For interior spaces in data centers, a range of 4000 K to 5000 K is ideal. In case of indoor spaces, warmer and less of white light of 4000 K range is ideal.

Which Color Temperature Is Ideal For Data Centers?

 

Ambient light

Color temperatures of warmer type ranging from 2700K to 3000K are preferred for creating a cozy surrounding. To provide a harmonious ambience, while using different varieties such as downlights and cove lights, make sure the lights have similar color temperature. Neutral white color temperatures are also good as they provide a mood boosting and energizing effect. In data centers that have white surfaces that are reflective, a range of 3500 K to 4000K is best. This helps in accentuating the light.

Task Lights

To carry visual tasks that need precision, task lights are ideal. These create a good contrast and have a color temperature of 3500 K to 5000 K. The color rendering index for such lights is also high at around 90. LEDs with their high CRI count are ideal for use as task lights.

Shop for data center lighting - DLC Qualified and highly efficient. They are eligible for rebates and will reduce your facilities energy consumption. Learn how here...
Last Updated: 01/18/2021

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