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A recent report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA 2007) indicates that data centers now account for approximately 1.5% of energy consumption in the United States, with energy consumption expected to double by 2013. In addition, newer energy codes such as ASHRAE standard 90.1, 2010 require even greater efficiency requirements, now placing data centers under the code for the first time in history, requiring many data centers to have some sort of economizer.
As the focus for data centers have been primarily on energy efficiency, the building industry as a whole has been moving towards more sustainable practices for overall improvement of the environment. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design developed by the USGBC) criteria for data centers is currently under development. One part of that criterion is water conservation and the collection of rainwater and cooling coil condensate. Water is increasingly becoming more of a concern for all facilities and is expected to rival power use in the future for cost and availability.
The purpose of this paper is to identify how water conservation, primarily the use of rainwater for the data centers can help increase the efficiency of the data center, thereby lowering its PUE, reduce the water required at the facility, and reduce the amount of water utilized at the regional power plant. This process lowers the water required for the entire region, a win-win situation. This paper will also describe how these systems can be utilized in lieu of some of the newer code required economizers where standard airand waterside economizers are impractical for various reasons.

Citation: ASHRAE Conference Papers, Montreal, QC