A free online tool  released today by The Green Grid, a consortium dedicated to advancing energy efficiency in data centers, shows data center managers exactly how much money the use of outside air (AKA free cooling) can save them. The Green Grid also provides a map that shows the effectiveness of free cooling in locations across the U.S.
Air conditioning accounts for a third to one half of centers' power demand. In an industry that uses 1.5% of all power in the U.S., cutting back on air conditioning could mean big energy and cash savings.
These potential savings aren't being ignored by savvy companies. Dell, for example, has saved $53 million over 3 years by implementing virtualization technology and keeping IT equipment up to date. Google has also saved tens of millions by dollars by using efficient data centers .
Data center managers interested in the Green Grid tool should remember that individual savings depends on climate, local energy costs, IT load, and facility load. For example, a 1 megawatt facility in San Jose, California could save $66,000 each year using free cooling, but the same size facility in Herndon, Virginia will only save $22,000. But with data center costs expected to rise up to $7.4 billion a year by 2012 without efficiency improvements, every little bit counts.
[Via The Green Grid ]