HP claims to have developed a new approach to cooling data centres - by adjusting air conditioning systems to changing server loads more precisely.

The Dynamic Smart Cooling (DSC) technology can deliver between 20 to 45 percent savings in cooling energy costs depending on the size of the data center, according to the company. It will be available in the middle of next yeat.

DSC involves placing several heat sensors on racks of servers throughout the data centre, which send information on changes in temperature to a central monitoring system. As the sensors detect an increase in a server's temperature, a signal is sent to the nearest of several air conditioning units to throttle up to cool that server. When the server cools down (because it's not doing as much work), the air conditioner throttles down.

HP first introduced the concept of Dynamic Smart Cooling in 2003 and has already started trials of the technology. DSC is a way of addressing an energy consumption problem data centres didn't have just five years ago, said Chandrakant Patel, an HP Fellow and one of the system designers. "Five years ago, no one got fired for wasting energy but they did get fired if the server went down," Patel said.

But today, energy consumption is an issue and Dynamic Smart Cooling technology addresses data center management concerns about the operating expense of powering and cooling, said Paul Perez, vice president of HP's Technology Solutions Group.

Power consumption is, on average, 40 percent of the operating expense of running a data centre, Perez said. And 60 percent to 70 percent of that energy expense goes to cooling the servers, he said.

Other technology companies are working on ways to keep data centers cool. Chipmakers Intel and AMD are developing processors that run cooler than they have in the past, and HP's chief competitor, IBM is trying to address thermal issues on a system level.