A new approach to data center construction has flipped conventions on their head, literally. Racks on racks of computer servers can consume up to 300 watts of electricity per square foot of floor space, and the placement of them impacts efficiency.
The two-story design of a data center for Power Loft Services, LLC – with the raised floor on the second story and the mechanical and air-handling equipment on the ground floor – maximizes the amount of floor space dedicated to server rack space and improves the efficiency of the cooling system by 50% over conventional designs, according to David Ruppe, chief technical officer for Power Loft Services, LLC.
Located in Manassas, VA, the facility also includes a reflective roof, building sidewalls covered with green vegetation, and a chilled water cooling system. These innovative features help reduce energy use by 30% over traditional data centers.
“Our intention from the onset was to get at least LEED Silver, and we wound up at Gold,” Ruppe says. “What is particularly interesting is that we got certification for new construction – the entire building and systems – whereas a number of competitors get LEED for the shell building then profess to be LEED-certified.”
LEED v4 – formerly LEED 2012 – is considering adding a certification exclusively for data centers.
In the event of a utility outage, the data center is backed up by conventional UPS units powered by MTU Onsite Energy generators.