Statistical analysis for predicting location-specific data center PUE and its improvement potential

Nuoa Lei*, Eric Masanet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


This paper presents a statistical framework for predictive analysis of data center power usage effectiveness (PUE), with a focus on hyperscale data centers (HDCs). Thermodynamics-based PUE models considering representative economizer choices are proposed, taking climate variables and energy system parameters as inputs for robust PUE predictions. Sobol's method is used to assess total order sensitivity indices of key modeling parameters, suggesting that climate variables and uninterruptible power supply (UPS) efficiencies are the most important parameters. The PUE values of 17 HDCs operated by Google and Facebook were predicted, considering location-specific weather conditions, and uncertainties in energy system parameters and economizer choices. Results were verified using reported PUE values, indicating the model's effectiveness in capturing regional and seasonal PUE variations, and in generating point-estimations for macro-level data center (DC) energy models. Finally, achievable PUE values were computed through differential evolution, identifying minimum practical PUE values that could be obtained with state-of-the-art technologies. The framework can be applied in predictions of location-specific PUE values, PUE improvement analysis, and PUE target-setting by policy makers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number117556
StatePublished - Jun 15 2020


  • Data centers
  • Energy systems analysis
  • Power usage effectiveness (PUE)
  • Prediction under uncertainty
  • Sensitivity analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Pollution
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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