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What is economizer?

An economizer is a mechanical device that reduces the amount of energy used to cool a data center or other buildings. It is integrated into the building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, which is why it is sometimes called a HVAC economizer. An economizer uses outside air to help control indoor temperatures and achieve greater energy efficiency.

Economizers are commonly used in data centers to reduce the reliance on cooling devices, such as chillers, compressors or computer room air conditioners. Economizers can help lower a data center’s energy consumption and the associated costs, while moving toward a greener computing environment. Economizers can also extend the life of cooling devices, leading to additional savings. They can even improve indoor air quality, depending on the type of economizer.

Economizers offer the greatest benefits in cooler climates, but their use is not limited to cold regions. An economizer can help reduce energy consumption in warmer climates during the cooler months or at night, when temperatures drop. As long as the ambient temperature and humidity are in the desired range, an economizer can be extremely beneficial.

Government bodies and professional organizations, such as ASHRAE, provide recommendations and guidelines for deploying economizers effectively. Among these is the ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-2019 — Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, an industry standard for energy-efficient building design. The standard also includes information about the two basic types of economizers: air-side and fluid-side.

Some alternative data center cooling methods
Data centers commonly use economizers to reduce the reliance on cooling devices.

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