Focus on data centers: Codes and standards

Designing efficient and effective data centers and mission critical facilities is a top priority for consulting engineers. Engineers share suggestions and feedback on data center codes and standards.

01/15/2013


Participants

  • Cyrus Gerami, PE, LEED, CxA, Associate, Senior Project Engineer/Manager, exp Global Inc., Maitland, Fla.
  • Kerr Jonstone, IEng, MIET, Senior Electrical Engineer, CH2M Hill, Glasgow, Scotland 
  • Keith Lane, PE, RCDD/NTS, LC, LEED AP, President, Lane Coburn & Assocs., Bothell, Wash. 
  • James McEnteggart, PE, Vice President, Primary Integration Solutions Inc., Charlotte, N.C.
  • Robert M. Menuet, PE, Senior Principal, GHT Ltd., Arlington, Va. 
  • Brian Rener, PE LEED AP, Electrical Platform Leader and Quality Assurance Manager, M+W Group, Chicago, IL.

Codes & Standards

CSE: What codes, standards, or guidelines do you prefer to use as a guide as you work on these facilities?

Menuet: In addition to jurisdiction-mandated building codes, I use ASHRAE Technical Committee 9.9 (TC9.9) publications, white papers from the Uptime Institute and other industry groups, and at GHT, we have also developed our own standards to guide our project designs.

Johnstone: Notwithstanding local codes applicable to the location of the data center, design standards and documents which we refer to are ASHRAE TC9.9, Telecommunication Industry Assn. (TIA) 942, Code of Conduct on Data Centres Energy Efficiency, BREEAM for Data Centers, client design guides, and client- and industry-driven tier classifications.

Gerami: ASHRAE is the primary standard, followed by other related industry standards and publications such as ANSI and LEED.

CSE: How have Energy Star, ASHRAE, The Green Grid, etc., affected your work on mission critical facilities and data centers? What are some positive/negative aspects of these guides?

Gerami: There is a need for more integration of efforts and publications. Codes rely on the research and recommendations from the industry. Sometimes the published data are in conflict or outdated.

Johnstone: ASHRAE TC 9.9 has opened opportunities to use a broader range of cooling solutions; however, these are not applicable for all projects due to client constraints and risk-averse industries (banking/ financial). As these cooling technologies become mainstream, solutions will focus on energy efficiency.

Menuet: The Green Grid led the way, developing the first accepted metric for data centers: PUE. ASHRAE is addressing critical environmental conditions and system configuration issues with manufacturers. One challenge presented by ASHRAE guidelines is that when initially developed (prior to TC 9.9), they were very commercial office building-centric, and it was difficult to apply them to data centers. The development of TC9.9 has created useful guidance and tools for mission critical facility designers.

CSE: Which code/standard proves to be most challenging in such facilities?

Rener: We have found implementing ASHRAE’s recommended environmental criteria requires commitments from IT and the data equipment suppliers to operate at elevated temperature and humidity levels. This is often difficult to obtain.

Johnstone: Planning constraints can prove challenging in particular with reference to renewable technologies. In the UK/Europe, cooling technology and efficiency is often limited to air cooled due to risk aversion to water-cooled technologies.

Menuet: The recent applicability of the energy efficiency standards in ASHRAE 90.1 to data centers has been challenging. As stated previously, data center cooling system designs and equipment have been focused on availability and durability. Energy-efficient operation has been added to the mix.

Gerami: Energy codes and general building codes and standards cannot effectively address unique challenges and characteristics of high-powered data centers. A separate code based on annualized PUE should be developed.



No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
Control Engineering Leaders Under 40 identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn more about methods used to ensure that the integration between the safety system and the process control...
Adding industrial toughness and reliability to Ethernet eGuide
Technological advances like multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO) transmitting and receiving
Virtualization advice: 4 ways splitting servers can help manufacturing; Efficient motion controls; Fill the brain drain; Learn from the HART Plant of the Year
Two sides to process safety: Combining human and technical factors in your program; Preparing HMI graphics for migrations; Mechatronics and safety; Engineers' Choice Awards
Detecting security breaches: Forensic invenstigations depend on knowing your networks inside and out; Wireless workers; Opening robotic control; Product exclusive: Robust encoders
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
News and comments from Control Engineering process industries editor, Peter Welander.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
Anthony Baker is a fictitious aggregation of experts from Callisto Integration, providing manufacturing consulting and systems integration.
Integrator Guide

Integrator Guide

Search the online Automation Integrator Guide
 

Create New Listing

Visit the System Integrators page to view past winners of Control Engineering's System Integrator of the Year Award and learn how to enter the competition. You will also find more information on system integrators and Control System Integrators Association.

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.