EcoCooling have just completed their second data centre for Cambridge University’s Department of Engineering which gives the University a PUE of under 1.1 and a data centre which incorporates the very latest fresh air and evaporative cooling techniques and technology.

Four EcoCooling CRECS (computer room evaporative coolers) provide 90kW of cooling with N+1 redundancy. Air is fed directly into the cold aisle of this 1st floor data centre which is populated with high density racks. The supply and extraction is provided by Electrically Commutated (EC) axial fans which provide the lowest energy air flow available. At full design load these fans consume less than 5kW, which means their use will only add a maximum of 0.05 to the PUE. In addition since the data centre is currently only partly populated the variable speed EC fan exploits this and energy use is further improved. The current energy use is less than 2% of the IT cooling load.

  • Client
  • Location Cambridge, United Kingdom

The Solution

The air is supplied to a ceiling void and then filtered through G4 grade cartridges. This allows a large number of filter elements to be installed with minimum cost and space requirements. It also retains the use of low energy axial fans. This is the first installation of its kind to be used with a fresh air system to provide a dust free environment at a fraction of the cost of normal filters.

The control system designed by EcoCooling using Schneider Crouzet PLC, controls airflow, humidity and temperature within the data centre as well as links the fire alarm system. These controls directly interface with a Honeywell Trend BMS for data and fault reporting.

The data centre is run at the lower end of the ASHRAE temperature standards at 18.5C. This costs no more to achieve but gives a more comfortable environment for operators and also reduces temperature related failures. Temperatures within the data centre may rise to up to 24C on the very hottest days but this is within ASHRAE guidelines. Colder temperatures which can result in server shutdowns are prevented by the use of a patented attemperation system which mixes the hot air from the servers back into the air coming into the server room maintaining the room at the set temperature. The control system dynamically changes the air supply set point automatically to control the maximum RH Level so that ASHRAE compliant conditions (20-80%) are achieved at all times.

The new data centre is currently running at a PUE of less than 1.06 and this has resulted in recurrent savings for the Department of Engineering and also the option to consider expansion of its server capacity in the future.