In data center terminology an air economizer is part of the data center cooling infrastructure. An air economizer can reduce data center power consumption by leveraging cooler outdoor air temperatures to cool the hardware and facility.
In a typical scenario, air economizers draw in cool air from outside and expel hot air (generated inside the facility) outdoors, instead of cooling and recirculating the hot air from servers. Water economizers can also be used to remove heat from the chilled water loop by a heat exchange process with outdoor air.
According to The Green Grid (TGG), an international, non-profit consortium working to enhance data center resource efficiency, there are two main economizer technologies commonly used in data centers:
These systems use direct, fresh air blown into the data center with hot air extracted and discharged back outdoors, or they may use an air-to-air heat exchange. Cooler outdoor air is used to partially or fully cool the interior data center air.
These systems remove heat from the chilled water loop by a heat exchange process with outdoor air. When the cooling tower water loop is cooler than the return chilled water, it is used to partially or fully cool the chilled water.
See also free cooling.