In this paper, a building energy simulation code, EnergyPlus, was used to study selected important conditions, i.e. wall boundary conditions and locations, which potentially affect the energy consumption and thermal management of a popular data center model. The data center model having 1120 servers distributed in four rows of rack was investigated under two major climate conditions — hot and humid (Miami, FL), and cool and humid (Chicago, IL), and under five different wall boundary conditions. The data center model was first simulated under a well-mixed single-zone condition as a baseline. Then, a multi-zone approach was proposed to resolve the hot and cold aisles and used to investigate the data center performance. Both monthly and annual overall energy consumption as well as cooling load reports were analyzed and compared among various boundary conditions. In addition, monthly thermal behavior of hot and cold aisle zones within the data center was analyzed. The simulation results show that thermal performance of the data center is significantly affected by locations or climate conditions. The effects of location and wall boundary conditions are particularly appreciable during the summer and winter seasons.

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