IT Aire: Data Room Cooling

As sprawling server farms and new data rooms consume more and more energy for cooling (driven by exponential use of tablets, smartphones, and digital streaming), a commercialization grant from Oregon BEST is helping the City of Gresham implement and test an innovative, Oregon-developed cooling system that could cut energy costs associated with cooling data rooms by as much as 70 percent.

Developed by Gresham startup IT Aire, the system eliminates energy-hungry refrigeration compressors commonly found in Computer Room Air Conditioning (CRAC) units. Instead, the system uses indirect evaporative cooling, efficient fans, sensors and very few moving parts, all of which results in 70 percent energy savings over legacy CRAC units.

The $40,000 Oregon BEST grant leveraged an additional $67,000 from the Portland Development Commission and $8,250 from the Energy Trust of Oregon. The combined support will fund testing and data analysis by Oregon State University's Energy Efficiency Center at the City of Gresham's data room. It will also fund, in partnership with the City of Gresham, installation of an IT Aire system in the data room that will be compared to the City's current cooling system.

"This funding comes at an ideal time because we have potential customers like Intel, Xerox, and others who are very interested in our technology but want to see third-party test results from a real installation," says David Neketin owner of IT Aire. "We're confident our system can save the City of Gresham 75 percent of its data room cooling costs, and this grant will enable us to prove that and attract new customers."