Question-and-Answer Resource for the Building Energy Modeling Community
Get started with the Help page
Ask Your Question

What are the "best tools" for modeling data center cooling?

asked 2014-09-23 09:30:03 -0500

RobertWichert's avatar

updated 2014-09-23 11:11:13 -0500

I am working on modeling a small computer room. The computers are the major load. The space is served by a small water cooled chiller and an air handler, with economizer. The questions are:

1) Does EnergyPlus lend itself to such models, and are there specific tools that might be useful? I am interested in accurately modeling the computer room cooling with varying loads over the year, and with the economizer enabled to show the difference in various supply air temperatures and cooling tower strategies (multiple versus one cooling tower, variable versus multiple fans) as well as various economizer strategies (return air versus supply air control and the resulting chiller loading). I am also interested in detailed chiller modeling, as the load varies from full economizer to full chiller and the chiller part-load performance is a key attribute. The chiller supply temperature will be higher than typical for chilled water coil cooling, so that must be flexible as well.

2) Is there any specialized modeling tool that anyone knows about that is especially good for such modeling? I have heard about an EQuest version with DOE-2.3 with data center additions. Is this a good choice? I could make EnergyPro work, but I do not believe that the cooling tower / chiller interface is detailed enough.

Your thoughts are appreciated.

edit retag flag offensive close merge delete



@RobertWichert. I lack the "karma" to retag this, but I think better tags would be "data-center", "computer-room", and "chiller". "Computer" and "room" as separate tags will not route properly. "Modeling" is probably not necessary. You could optionally add "energyplus", "doe-2.3", and "energypro" if these are the tools you are particularly interested in.

__AmirRoth__'s avatar __AmirRoth__  ( 2014-09-23 10:44:23 -0500 )edit

I re-tagged the question as Amir suggested. Since this is a general question about available tools, I think it's best not to add any tags for specific tools.

Neal Kruis's avatar Neal Kruis  ( 2014-09-23 11:12:28 -0500 )edit

3 Answers

Sort by » oldest newest most voted

answered 2014-09-23 10:41:22 -0500

EnergyPlus has the chiller and cooling tower capabilities you need but does not have models for the terminal equipment you may want to use (e.g., CRAC), or for the racks themselves. And of course, there would be limitations in modeling hot-aisle/cold-aisle strategies. We are currently working on some of these features, but they will not be available in time for the 8.2.0 release next week. We will be doing interim releases via github, and they may be available there in the next couple of months so you may not need to wait until the 9.0.0 release in April. Hopefully, someone from @EnergyPlusDevTeam will follow-up with more detail and/or suggestions for temporary workarounds. I will ping them.

edit flag offensive delete link more


Hi Amir, I'm interested in using Energyplus to simulate a data center with CRACs as well. How do I check whether the interim releases on github have the features you are referencing? Also, does anyone from @EnergyPlusDevTeam has workarounds? Such as using UFAD to model the supply plenum and stratification and the data center racks as people or equipment plumes?

anchapin's avatar anchapin  ( 2015-02-06 09:36:45 -0500 )edit

There is an update on this here

Jamie Bull's avatar Jamie Bull  ( 2016-09-09 00:06:00 -0500 )edit

answered 2014-09-26 01:46:14 -0500

yongqingzhao's avatar

DOE2.3,the latest version of DOE2,can model data center.New features about DOE2.3 can be found in

edit flag offensive delete link more


The link above doesn't work and needs to be fixed. Thanks.

Joe Huang's avatar Joe Huang  ( 2014-09-26 20:23:27 -0500 )edit

Sorry,I'm fraid that the function of link doesn't work,and the URL is “".

yongqingzhao's avatar yongqingzhao  ( 2014-09-26 21:31:12 -0500 )edit

answered 2014-09-25 23:37:08 -0500

You may want to look at in which the Modelica Buildings library was used to evaluate the energy efficiency of the chiller and water-side economizer control sequence, subject to different control parameters. More details about this model and the controls can be found in

edit flag offensive delete link more

Your Answer

Please start posting anonymously - your entry will be published after you log in or create a new account.

Add Answer

Training Workshops


Question Tools



Asked: 2014-09-23 09:30:03 -0500

Seen: 975 times

Last updated: Sep 26 '14