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Power consumption: Residential vs. Commercial

  1. Jan 22, 2010 #1
    Just a hypothetical question here. It's just a thought that popped into my head that I thought was an interesting topic.

    Seeing as many companies now have data centers and server farms, what would to say consumes more power overall?

    All of the technologically superior countries' companies' IT, or the residents of those countries?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 22, 2010 #2


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    Residential use consumes 21% of US power generation, Commercial 17%
    Estimates are that 1-2% of the US power is used by computers

    It varies a lot by region - in the south most (electrical) power is used for AC
    since AC is inefficient for every watt of energy you use in an appliance you need 2-3Watts of AC to remove the heat.

    It's a little better in a large purpose designed facility like a server farm - but they still use more energy for cooling than powering the machines.
  4. Jan 22, 2010 #3
    I'm sure those numbers have vastly changed since 2004.
  5. Jan 22, 2010 #4


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    If anything they will have got worse.
    Lots of big screen plasma TV's at home and a lot of cost cutting at work.

    Even a big data centre, think of 10,000 machines at 250W each is only 2.5MW even with old style AC that's only about 5MW total - nothing compared to a cement kiln or steel works.

    Modern data centres, especially built somewhere cold or with water cooling, get down to only 10-20% overhead on the power used to run the machines.
  6. Jan 22, 2010 #5
    With the exception of Industrial/Transportation, the Residential and Commercial sectors are increasing at the same rate:

    I don't know why data centers or server farms would be of concern.
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