Making a few energy efficiency changes at their facility proved to be a big win for Equinix, a large data center located in El Segundo, Calif.

After making some upgrades, the company is now seeing $750,000 a year in energy savings, plus they recently received a $1,060,722 rebate check from Southern California Edison (SCE).

Equinix took advantage of a free energy efficiency audit conducted by SCE and moved forward with three upgrades that are saving the company 8.5 million kilowatt hours annually.

The company replaced 72 air handling units that were used to keep the temperature in their data center cool. SCE installed fan motors that were more efficient and allowed variable speeds. By doing this, Equinix was able to run some of its units at regular speeds and run others at a slower speed — and still maintain the needed temperature — all while saving energy and money.

The company also changed its air control system that was used to cool the data center.

“The controls dynamically optimized fan speed for real time changes in cooling load,” said Bill Sewell, who worked with Equinix during their energy efficiency upgrades. Sewell works for Willdan, a third-party implementer of energy efficiency programs that works closely with SCE.

Equinix also changed the chillers in their air-conditioning units. “We replaced their air cool chillers with water cool chillers that were significantly more efficient,” said Sewell. The data center had eight cool chillers and SCE replaced three and the remaining ones became a backup to the water cool chillers.

Sewell says that while this company spent about $4 million in upgrades, they will see a payback in their upgrades in less than two years. In some cases, businesses can see energy upgrade savings within three months. 

Small things like installing lighting occupancy sensors which dim and turn back on when someone passes by allow quick savings. “The installation costs are about $725 and the annual savings are $3,367. You would see a complete payback in three months,” said Sewell.

If a company changes their temperature from 65 to 67 degrees, they’d save about 900 kilowatts a year and save about $400 on their annual bill, he added.

SCE offers a variety of programs to help businesses and developers save money. Through the Savings By Design program, SCE works with architects and engineers to assist in their design and helps to maximize their energy efficiency savings.

There’s also LEED certification which allows a customer to be rewarded for their energy efficient design or by using materials that are locally manufactured. The Savings By Design and LEED programs are steps to take before construction starts.

To learn more about SCE’s comprehensive energy solutions that are tailored to a business’ needs, visit www.sce.com/business.