[Beowulf] Google greywater cooling

Prentice Bisbal prentice at ias.edu
Fri Mar 23 06:59:37 PDT 2012

On 03/22/2012 11:04 AM, Mark Hahn wrote:
>> http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/03/20/google_greywater_data_center_cooling/
> I grew up in a city cooled by a central evaporative water-chilling plant,
> so I'm always surprised how unusual this sort of project is.
> does anyone have comments on how to enable/encourage/foster less 
> conventional datacenter engineering?
> I've participated in two DC projects, and both went with safe, boring
> and inefficient solutions, simply because power costs weren't high enough
> to motivate any deviation from utter conventionality.  power costs are
> somewhat hidden on uni campuses, and people involved are very, extremely,
> hyper-risk-averse...
> I suppose part of the problem is in retrofitting a green DC into 
> existing buildings - it's a lot easier if you can plan a new building
> to, for instance, take advantage of waste heat.

I think you need to get the bean-counters involved, and sell them on the
money savings, not just the planet savings.

Princeton University just completed contruction of their
High-Performance Computing Research Center (HPCRC. The name is a
complete misnomer - its a production datacenter that houses ALL
university computing, not just HPC, and it's not a research center).
It's a pretty amazing building, and is shooting for some level of LEED
certification. To me, the place looks like an over-engineered monster
(I've toured it several times), but the engineers giving the tours
always point out many different ways the datacenter is both saving the
planet and saving the university a lot of money at the same time.
They've done an amazing job with it, and I think that the end of the
day, the monetary savings is what made it happen.


I know there are some lurkers from PU on this list who are involved with
the HPCRC. Maybe they'll pipe up on this topic.


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