'We Expect to Realize $23 Million in Energy Savings'

by p b    Jul 13, 2011

Eaton Corporation has more than 225 manufacturing facilities and hundreds of sales offices around the world. William W. Blausey, Jr., Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer speaks on how the company upgraded its global data centre infrastructure and the benefits for the business.

By Ashwani Mishra

Bill Blausey

[Q] What was the primary reason to build two new data centres for Eaton?

[A] Being a power management company, we wanted to find innovative ways to enable our customers to reduce their energy costs and use power efficiently. We wanted to take a serious look at our own environmental impact and reduce footprints.

This was the primary purpose of building two new data centres in Louisville and Simpsonville, Kentucky. They replaced the older two located in Cleveland. The old data centres were beginning to run short of space and power and did not meet the company’s sustainability standards.

However, we were able to achieve some efficiency in the older data centres by investing in VMware virtualization technology. It helped us remove around 600 plus servers and reduced our annual power consumption by more than 4.4 million kilowatt-hours.

[Q] What technologies have you put to work in these new data centres and what benefits will it provide for the company?

[A] We deployed our own solutions to optimize our operations for energy efficiency and better environment performance.

The new facilities use our 9395 Uninterruptible Power Systems (UPS), along with our 400V Enclosure Power Distribution Unit (ePDU) product that allows users to run servers at 230 volts. This has increased efficiency and reduced distribution costs. The UPS will help the company save roughly around $75,000 in annual energy costs at each of these facilities.

Last year we had acquired Wright Line LLC, a manufacturer of customized enclosures, rack systems and air-flow management systems. We have deployed these enclosures in our new data centres that can lower air handling-related power usage by up to 30 percent.

We found that the power demand for IT is much higher during the month end as compared to the other parts of the month due to increase in data processing. With dashboard analytical capabilities of our Foreseer software we can now save power by understanding the usage of devices in the facility throughout the month.

The Simpsonville location has already received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification. The Louisville site will also be certified later this year. The new data centres’ design will target an aggressive Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) rating.

The two new data centres should deliver $23 million in energy savings and I expect them to meet our business requirements for the next 15 to 20 years.

[Q] What has been Eaton’s role in helping control Green House Gas (GHG) emissions?

[A] Since 2006, we have reduced our GHG emissions by 12.9 percent, indexed to sales, keeping us on track to meet our 18 percent reduction goal by 2012. In 2010, we expanded that commitment by pledging to reduce our global energy usage by 25 percent, indexed to sales, between 2006 and 2016.

We have achieved these reductions through strategic decisions, including facility consolidations, and direct energy-reduction projects such as improving lighting systems, process equipment and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. We have also upgraded our old equipments to newer, more energy-efficient equipments.

[Q] Do you have plans to use alternate sources of power like solar or wind?

[A] The economics of alternate power sources remain a challenge for large users. Today, the big question is whether these power sources will deliver returns on investments. However, few years from now, we see these sources being adopted for powering data centres.