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Case Studies

Bracknell Forest – Low cost green solution delivers fast Return on Investment

The pressure is on in local government both to reduce costs – and improve energy efficiency. So, when Future-tech approached Bracknell Forest Borough Council with a proposal for Cold Aisle Containment, the Council’s IT team was more than happy to listen. The resulting retro-fit to the five year old computer room will save an estimated 42 tonnes of CO2 each year, with a return on the initial investment of £12,000 in less than two years.

THE BRIEF

Bracknell Forest has worked with Future-tech since 2004 when the specialist contractor built the Council’s computer room in an existing underground car park. Since then, the council has been faced with a demand to reduce its costs significantly and also meet the requirements of the Nottingham Agreement to cut CO2 emissions in local governments.

 

CHALLENGES AND CONSTRAINTS

Bracknell Forest Council have virtualised much of their IT over the past few years meaning they required fewer racks in the computer room. This meant that they were wasting energy by cooling the whole room. Future-tech approached the Council to talk about cold aisle containment and showed them how they could save considerably on their costs by re-configuring their racks into a contained cold aisle.

 

THE FUTURE-TECH SOLUTION

Future-tech proposed a professional low-cost solution. As Bracknell Forest Council we were under pressure from the business to reduce costs, Future-tech used a simple retro-fit into the existing room that enabled them to warm the room from 21°C to 24°C and turn off one of their air handling units.

The room is bisected by a boxed-in gas pipe which restricts the airflow, so the solution was only going to work when the Council was able to reduce the number of servers it used. Fewer racks enclosed in one aisle were bound to improve the energy efficiency – and it’s now perfectly acceptable to run the room warmer than it would have done in the past. Future-tech have installed meters as part of the retrofit so that the Council can see and verify the energy (and cost) savings immediately. This may not have been one of Future-tech’s bigger projects, but it having an immediate impact is very gratifying.

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DAVID STUTCHFIELD, ENERGY OFFICER, UNIVERSITY OF ST ANDREW’S

“With Future-tech’s careful attention to all the individual details we’ve ended up with a very energy efficient data centre“