White Paper

Impact Of Hot And Cold Aisle Containment On Data Center Temperature And Efficiency

Source: APC by Schneider Electric

Both hot-air and cold-air containment can improve the predictability and efficiency of traditional data center cooling systems. While both approaches minimize the mixing of hot and cold air, there are practical differences in implementation and operation that have significant consequences on work environment conditions, PUE, and economizer mode hours. The choice of hot- aisle containment over cold-aisle containment can save 43% in annual cooling system energy cost, corresponding to a 15% reduction in annualized PUE. This paper examines both methodologies and highlights the reasons why hot-aisle containment emerges as the preferred best practice for new data centers.


High energy costs and accelerated energy consumption rates have forced data center professionals to consider hot-air and cold-air containment strategies. According to Bruce Myatt of EYP Mission Critical, the separation of hot and cold air "is one of the most promising energy-efficiency measures available to new and legacy data centers today” (Mission Critical, Fall 2007). In addition to energy efficiency, containment allows uniform IT inlet temperatures and eliminates hot spots typically found in traditional uncontained data centers.

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