Get in touch
Get in touch

Please enter a few details

I agree to the terms and conditions

Case Studies

Free air cooling aids Sainsbury’s data centre energy reduction

Sainsbury’s commissioned Future-tech to design and install fresh air, data centre cooling for two air handling units, fitting the new plant in a roof space above a suspended ceiling over the existing computer room. Adding a level of complexity to the initial planning, Future-tech’s data centre designs and project plan had to be approved by Sainsbury’s landlords. While this took time, the plan was approved without change.



The data centre operates with a supply air temperature in the floor void of between 15ºC and 17ºC. Thus any time that the outside air is below 15ºC it is possible to cool the data centre using fan power only from the fresh air cooling system. The project involved the Future-tech team installing an Air Handling Unit complete with an evaporative humidifier, filters and supply air motor and fan above the computer room in the attic space. Using structural calculations provided by structural engineering partner, Noak Bridge Consultants, the team built and installed a steel frame to support the air handling unit.



It was a challenge to retro-fit the kit into an existing building, Future-tech had to bring in a crane and remove part of a wall to get the large elements in, however everything was scheduled and the installation had no disruption to the data centre operation. The project faced more challenges between the design and implementation phases by adding an additional air handling unit. Initially Sainsbury’s wanted the free air cooling in their data centre to link into two units, but then decided to add a third, therefore, Future-tech needed a solution to meet the client’s requirements.



Fresh air is provided to the air handling unit via a louver and ductwork from the flat roof area. The air is then filtered and humidified before being introduced into the computer room ceiling void. Future-tech also installed an extract fan within the ductwork to extract return air from the computer room ceiling void and vent it into the atmosphere high above the existing condenser compound, and to separate the supply and extract air, the team installed barriers/plenums within the computer room ceiling void.

Shortly after the site went live, Future-tech were commissioned for a second phase of work to introduce free air cooling across the whole computer room. Sainsbury’s have already received significant benefits in terms of reducing their energy usage and are very impressed with the work carried out by Future-tech.

Future-tech's data centre design and data centre cooling for Sainsbury's supermarkets - Crane Lift


“The Council was recognised by the Data Centre Dynamics Award Scheme for the design innovation used in free cooling the data centre“