Toyota released the results of a five-month pilot last week that showed that by simply locating and addressing hot spots in a data center, it could reduce power consumption by 10%.

Toyota Motor Sales USA worked with IBM and Southern California Edison on the pilot in its 20,000-square-foot data center in Torrance, Calif. It deployed new software, from IBM’s research division called IBM Measurement and Management Technologies, that essentially maps a data center to find the hot spots. The software assesses thermal readings throughout a data center, from floor to ceiling, and creates a three-dimensional chart pinpointing power and cooling inefficiencies.

By using the results, researchers were then able to better determine how to use existing cooling resources to improve the efficiency of the equipment.

“In a very short period of time, MMT [IBM Measurement and Management Technology software] showed us where to begin making inexpensive changes to air flow and temperature set points in our computer room,” Cathy Tryon, national manager of data center operations for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A.,said in releasing the results of the pilot. “This allowed us to safely shut down two computer room air conditioners, resulting in significant energy and cost savings.”

Toyota said it also used the technology to improve air flow management, reduce chilled air leakage, match cooling capacities to the IT power consumption and to implement a system to separate exhaust air and inlet temperatures within the data center. Even though air conditioning units were reduced by 30%, Toyota said it still achieved an overall cooler consistent ambient temperature throughout the data center.

Southern California Edison, which supplies electricity to the data center, was able to verify the energy savings, which it pegged at more than 10%. The data center houses application development and testing equipment for Toyota as well as file-sharing, e-mail and printing capabilities in support of its U.S. network of 1,400 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealers.

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