UPS For The Data Center: What’s Behind Eco-mode

Many new UPS systems like Newave’s have an operating mode called “eco-mode”. Eco-mode describes a method of operating the UPS at reduced power protection in order to obtain improved electrical efficiency and save energy.

Nevertheless, surveys show that most of the data centers do not use this mode, because it entails antizipated risks and side-effects like loss of electrical protection, reliability impacts and operations issues. Schneider Electric’s Data Center Science Center recently published the White Paper “Eco-mode: Benefits and Risks of Energy-saving Modes of UPS Operation” to clarify all important facts about eco-mode for UPS systems:

All things considered, eco-mode will save energy, although the amount saved is surprisingly small. Data Center operators can expect to see savings on the order of 2-4% in total energy if eco-mode is enabled. While this is not a major efficiency pickup, it is valuable.

In addition, the energy saved comes at a significant cost in electrical protection and reliability. Eco-mode therefore should be used in situations where the number of hand-offs are as few as possible, e.g. where power quality is excellent.

The white paper also provides a prediction about the future use of eco-mode:

“As data center designs become more standardized, IT equipment continues to improve, and real world experience using eco-mode accumulates, predictability and confidence in eco- mode will improve and its application may begin to expand, especially in data centers with lower availability requirements.”

Download the White paper “Eco-mode: Benefits and Risks of Energy-saving Modes of UPS Operation “(.pdf)

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