Airside Economizers: Reducing Data Center Cooling Costs

Rooftop airside economizers are proving their worth in broader data center operations with cost savings that are orders of magnitude higher than in traditional office  building applications. Given that an economizer like one of the Ruskin Rooftop Systems ASHRAE-compliant units can reliably reduce commercial building cooling costs – especially data center cooling costs, typically by 60 percent with best case savings of 70 to 90 percent.  Economizer technology offers excellent return on investment. While the underlying principles are relatively simple, an effective economizer requires both cutting-edge design technology as well as exacting build quality.

Economizer Basics 

An economizer is like a window that automatically opens itself – with the added advantage of going through the rooftop AC’s filtration system.  . When a building needs cooling, air conditioning systems typically run compressors to move air over cooling coils and then distribute the cooled air to the space. This process is extremely effective but consumes compressor energy. It’s also unnecessary when the air outside is cooler than the air inside.  An airside economizer simply recognizes the lower enthalpy of the outside air and opens the outside air dampers and closes the return air dampers to provide outside air for compressor energy-free cooling.

Along with lower energy costs, regularly flushing a building with outside air also improves indoor air quality by removing indoor odor byproducts, outgassing of interior materials, and other unwelcome effects on IAQ.

If you have a newer commercial HVAC system, you likely already have an airside economizer since modern rooftop units are required to have them in most North American climates. However, if your system is older and lacks one, or if your existing system isn’t running as well as it should be, Ruskin Rooftop Systems offers a full line of high-efficiency economizers.

Ruskin Rooftop Systems – A Better Economizer

The most important part of an airside economizer are the damper blades that control the airflow between the inside and the outside. Parallel bladed economizers do a better job of mixing the outside and reutrn air to provide optimal benefit to the system.  Ruskin provides thes eonomizers. 

Sealing capability is also essential.  During unoccupied conditions when its either extremely hot, or extremely cold outside, it is important to have dampers with tight sealing capability.  To ensure this sealing capability, be sure to require AMCA certified dampers.   

When an airside economizer works properly, the savings are significant. Whether your company is looking to burnish its environmental credentials, to lower the cost of operating its data center, or both, a properly designed system integrating an airside economizer is a cornerstone of achieving both goals.

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