Consulting Specifying Engineer Jan/Feb 2015-CSE : Page-15

lar off-site construction, as opposed to the conventional brick-and-mortar data center, delivers speed, performance, and cost containment. Building off-site in a controlled, safe, and environmentally friendly space may quite often allow for much quicker deployment. In addi-tion to the time savings in building the mechanical, electrical, and structural components, all components and sys-tems are tested in the factory before shipping to the site. This saves time and money during the final integrated sys-tems testing (IST) before handover to the client in the field. Dwayne Miller: Our most recent data center projects have been enterprise data centers for international integrated resorts. The properties are both in excess of 4 million sq ft. Both data centers tie into property infrastructure; hence the cooling, normal power, and generator back-up power are served from cen-tralized systems. Owner requirements included on-site disaster recovery capabilities, which are addressed with primary and secondary data centers for each property. The centralized generator backup system is composed of multiple parallel engines, and the data center loads are second only to life safety sys-tems with respect to the load priority. In addition, from a cooling standpoint, the data center is tied in to a large cen-tralized chilled water system and is the highest priority load for the system. A combination of centralized and localized infrastructure is deployed to ensure con-tinuity of services. CSE: What are the newest trends in data centers in mixed-use build-ings? Kingsley: This really depends on the rack density, required reliability, and available utilities. For example, a research-based data center at a college or university may have a high rack Figure 1: Data center projects are among the most complex projects an engineer can tackle. Because of the crucial and often sensitive information stored therein, power reliability is one important aspect. Courtesy: JBA Consulting Engineers sity and high-reliability requirement. As a result, MEP designers tend to use a high-density cooling solution such as an in-row cooling. An independent cool-ing system may also be used rather than relying on the central chiller plant, which may be shut down in winter. Increasing-ly, we are seeing heat recovery systems being used in mixed-use buildings to recover waste heat from the data center and use it for the building heating sys-tem. This may make the most economic sense as an energy savings strategy in a building with a large white space data center and office space that represents a fraction of the overall cost. Lane: Flexibility and modularity are the key features clients require in the market today. It is critical to design flexibility to modify the design for future phases and to ensure the infra-structure is in place to provide for changes. Modularity is critical to ensure incremental components can be added as density and/or redundancy increases are required. Baxter: The biggest trend is probably moving the data centers completely out of these types of buildings and having “purpose built” facilities. Heat recovery would be a newer trend, especially in regions where extended heating periods allow the heat generated by the data cen-ter to be used for building heating. CSE: What are some challenges you have faced in coordinating structural systems with mechanical, electrical, plumbing, or fire protec-tion systems? Lane: Data centers are very unique facilities. The sheer amount of power and critical nature of the loads being served require significant expertise. Uninterrupt-able power supplies, large standby gen-erators, fuel supplies, large conductors, medium-voltage services, large transform-ers, various voltages, harmonic distortion, metering, PUE, and energy efficiency all must be considered in the design of data center facilities. Because of the unique nature of the electrical load profile, the heating of underground electrical duct banks must be evaluated. This involves 3-D modeling of the underground feeders as well as a comprehensive failure mode analysis and Neher-McGrath heating cal-culations. The initial cost of building a data center is tremendous. The long-term costs associated with running a data center include the electrical and water services, which are very significant and must be considered during the design process. The electrical and mechanical engineers must work collaboratively to ensure the most reliable and cost-effective systems are designed and implemented. Enough design time must be built into the sched-Consulting-Specifying Engineer • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2015 15

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