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Energy Action Month: Selecting Energy-Efficient Power Management Solutions

The IT and data center landscape is fast-changing and innovation-driven. In the midst of this movement, organizations face constant pressure to save time, save money and enhance efficiencies – all the while keeping their power infrastructure up and running. Additionally, a global emphasis on sustainability has created an imperative for data center managers to improve energy efficiency while still powering mission-critical infrastructure.

Thankfully, recent advancements in power management technology have created opportunities for organizations to lower costs through improved efficiency while supporting sustainability efforts. In honor of Energy Action Month in October, we’ve outlined a few recent enhancements in power management solutions that are helping IT and data center professionals with their objectives in efficiency and sustainability.

Energy-efficient UPSs

Power sags, surges and outages are capable of damaging valuable IT equipment and bringing productivity to a halt. Thankfully, these problems are also avoidable with a robust power protection solution. An uninterruptible power system (UPS) is the central component of any well-designed power protection architecture. These platforms provide backup power when utility power fails, either long enough for critical equipment to shut down gracefully so that no data is lost, or long enough to keep required loads operational until a generator comes online.

Ushering in a new generation of sophisticated UPSs, modern solutions allow organizations to increase energy efficiency without compromising reliability. Today’s UPSs offer capabilities for 99 percent efficiency, which can help organizations greatly reduce power consumption. It also helps cut the costs associated with electricity and cooling.

For IT and data center managers that are looking to obtain an energy-efficient UPS, there are a number of solutions on the list of ENERGY STAR-qualified products. This certification was established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy to help end-users save money and protect the environment.

The Lithium Battery Revolution

Lithium batteries have evolved a lot in recent years, so much to where they’ve become a great fit for UPS platforms. These batteries save 60 percent on size and 40 percent on weight in comparison to traditional UPS batteries, while also greatly enhancing service life. In fact, lithium batteries are expected to last 10 to 15 years – a big jump from the 5 to 6-year range of conventional large UPS batteries.

Lithium batteries also have a high cycle life, meaning they can be charged and recharged more often without wearing out. This allows for applications like grid sharing or peak shaving, reducing peak demand in a facility, or on a microgrid, by shifting to battery power when demand is high for enhanced energy efficiency. While the price for lithium batteries used to be higher, they’re now available at nearly same price as a VLRA battery. Today’s solutions also offer enhanced safety features and rugged packaging – comparable to that of an electric car battery.

An Enhanced Power Monitoring Platform

Advanced power monitoring services today deliver comprehensive management capabilities for UPSs and other power backup solutions. Today’s power management systems require the ability to track comprehensive data, including details on the battery date code, battery model and type, firmware version, service history, capacitor and fan life and so on. With a next-generation power monitoring platform, this granular detail is more easily accessible to administrators to facilitate inspection, reporting and remediation prior to any failure. This kind of predictive information can also be extremely useful, saving down time costs, and operating expenses.

When an administrator can track data like battery date codes and service history, they can provide much faster and more efficient planning and analysis. For example, they may see that a battery is five years old. Depending on the battery type, this could mean the battery is nearing the end of its useful life and will need replacing soon to optimize energy efficiency and protect against downtime. As next-generation power monitoring services continue to evolve, these platforms will also enable more central, efficient management of an organization’s entire power infrastructure, coupling UPSs with power distribution units (PDUs) and other power management systems from multiple vendors for even better efficiency.

No matter how big or small an organization, power management is an important element for organization to consider in keeping electrical systems running and on track with goals in areas like sustainability and scalability. With reliability and redundancy paramount, organizations can equip themselves with the right solutions to maximize uptime, improve energy efficiency and reduce operating costs. These are objectives that, when achieved, work together to deliver a higher return on investment for organizations.

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