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Case Studies

100% Free Cooling @ 35°C Ambient for UK Based MSP

The design of an innovative, class leading data centre power and cooling system that pushes the limits of performance and ensures 100% compressor free cooling all year within a legacy building envelope and constrained environment.

THE BRIEF

To design, to RIBA stage 3, an energy efficient data centre cooling system, that was completely compressor free, and power system within a legacy, ex-MOD building. Critical infrastructure had to be concurrently maintainable and scalable, allowing the facility to grow in 30 cabinet modules.

 

CHALLENGES AND CONSTRAIN

(1) Extremely limited floor to ceiling height

(2) Limited external plant space

(3) Limited external wall area

(4) Provisions of 100% compressor free cooling 24/7/365 within an environment that experiences a 20 year high temperature of 35.5°C ambient

(5) Local environment that can experience high concentration of air borne particulates

 

THE FUTURE-TECH SOLUTION

It was an absolutely vital requirement of the project that the data centre is cooled compressor free all year round however, due to the constraints both direct and indirect air based cooling systems could not be used. This meant the Future-tech design team had to opt for a water based cooling system.

By using the physical size of the space available and the 35.5°C high temperature as two fixed points the team designed a cooling system that provided 100% free cooling all year round whilst overcoming the constraints associated with the building and its location.

The result is a data centre that creates the environmental envelope depicted in the graph.

By using dry air coolers with an evaporative function the data centre environment can be kept within ASHREA allowable conditions for the vast majority of the year. During very high ambient conditions, above 32°C, the data centre supply air temperature will exceed the standard’s upper supply air temperature allowable limit.

This was the only way to achieve the client’s requirement of 100% compressor free cooling, come what may. The client went back to its IT hardware manufacturers and asked whether they would warranty their equipment within this extended environmental profile.

The 20 year extreme weather data showed the facility would only experience minutes in this very upper range and due to the cooling system being indirect, relative humidity would remain within the ASHEA recommended range at all times. In view of this information the IT equipment manufacturers stated they would warranty the equipment. This meant the project could continue with 100% free cooling system.

The result is a facility that operates within the top 1% of data centres globally for energy efficiency, although it is not in a very low ambient environment, and utilizes an indirect air to water system.

Together with the cooling system Future-tech designed an Uptime Institute Tier II aligned electrical system that grows in modules to match IT requirements.

All drawings, technical specifications and descriptions were provided by Future-tech as part of the service delivery. The client engaged with specialist individual contractors to complete the works, with Future-tech attending site throughout the construction and signing off installation works.

If you want to achieve a data centre that pushes the limit of performance, incorporates innovative design concepts and results in a facility that breaks with traditional expectation please contact our team on 0845 9000 127.

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DAVID STUTCHFIELD, ENERGY OFFICER, UNIVERSITY OF ST ANDREW’S

“With Future-tech’s careful attention to all the individual details we’ve ended up with a very energy efficient data centre“