The data center industry is experiencing an increase in the number of businesses deploying equipment cabinets in colors other than the traditional black, with white being the most common choice. Typical reasons for this change in color preference are improved aesthetics, workspace lighting effectiveness, and cost savings due to decreased lighting requirements. To determine the impact of cabinet color choice on lighting effectiveness and the potential cost savings, the Panduit Corporate Research & Development team conducted a series of computer simulations.
Black cabinet surfaces absorb a high fraction of the illumination falling on them. By using lighter colors for the cabinets, more illumination is reflected into the room, increasing the overall lighting level. Fewer light fixtures are needed, resulting in a lower continuous lighting power load.
Previous studies have only explored the benefits of white cabinets in the most basic data center configuration (standard open hot aisle/cold aisle). A potentially significant variable that has not been addressed is the use of common data center airflow management methods. Specifically, what impact do aisle containment systems and vertical exhaust ducts (chimneys) have on lighting in the data center, and do these solutions change the impact of white cabinets on data center lighting levels?