Outdoor retailer REI retrofitted its Seattle data center, resulting in a 93 percent reduction in the cooling energy used to operate the facility. The retrofit uses “free cooling” via a rooftop evaporative cooling tower to keep servers at optimal temperatures.
The system reduces the need for mechanical cooling nearly year-round, or about 8,672 hours annually.
In addition to rooftop cooling technology, the retrofit included upgraded backup battery banks, removal of old power distribution units, installation of floor brush barriers and curtain systems to contain cold air in critical areas, upgraded software to the backup power systems, and rewiring subfloor cabling to optimize airflow under the raised floor.
Because of the efficiencies gained, REI also reconfigured its redundant power supply.
REI’s data center, which houses servers and backup systems for computers, software systems, REI.com and point of sale for its 132 stores in 33 states, is saving enough with the retrofit to power six REI stores – 2.2 million kWh each year. Improved efficiencies also mean improved business resiliency and stability in the event of a regional power outage, says the company.
The project was completed in partnership with CLEAResult, an energy efficiency firm based in Austin, Texas, and Puget Sound Energy.
The retrofit was recognized by the Association of Energy Engineers as the Region V Energy Project of the Year for 2013.
Across its business, REI limits increases to its energy use through renewable resources, efficiency projects and self-generation investments such as solar technology. Last year, with overall company growth of 7.4 percent, REI’s total energy use was essentially flat despite adding five new stores.