Data center noise poses an increasing problem across the world as more and more are built to provide the digital services we all use. In addition, there are similar issues with crypto mining noise. The 2 major noise sources on these sites are the cooling systems (banks of fans on chillers) and standby generators. Whilst the latter are run to order for testing and are not usually much of a noise problem (as long as the low-frequency exhaust noise is properly attenuated), the former run 24/7.
Conventional data center noise control techniques such as acoustic louvres and barriers reduce cooling efficiency and increase running costs. Moreover, they cannot solve the very common low-frequency tonal hum complaint problems experienced by many sites.
However, there are innovative new low-cost techniques that not only cut noise, but also improve cooling efficiency thus making many noise control projects self-financing. As they also kill the low-frequency tones, they represent a seriously disruptive noise control technology that is often worth implementing for the efficiency gains alone, even if there is no noise issue.
In addition to cooling systems that run 24/7, there will also be power supply systems - either online (e.g. CHP turbines) or on standby (e.g. noisy diesel generator sets that are only run to a test schedule). As with cooling systems, low-frequency generator set tones may be a problem.
A data center noise control project that pays for itself is no longer an oxymoronic concept...