Project Description

Data Center

Corporate Buildings

A large data center which uses adiabatic cooling, operates with a PUE of 1.16 and avoided the need for a 7,000 ton chiller plant.

Data centers are known for their intense energy consumption, so new and innovative ways to creatively cool rows and rows of computer racks while being energy conscience was a real challenge. DB Engineering guided the design toward taking advantage of the surprisingly dry Seattle climate and cool the facility with outside air and evaporative cooling.

The fundamental science behind HVAC has been well known for decades, but few get to apply that knowledge in new and innovative ways. DB Engineering’s clients continually push for new ways to do things and we’re expected to think “outside of the box” to solve design challenges. Understanding the science behind cooling and heating is the only way to know how things will work in reality. DB Engineering didn’t just show how nature could provide all the cooling the data center needed, they made it happen.

The project involved cooling a 40,000 square foot data center with an energy intensity of more than 600 w/sqft. Normally, that kind of cooling would be require chillers and cooling tower, pumps, controls and all the operations and maintenance staff that go with it. In this case, DB Engineering provided the Schematic Design documents to pursue an alternative approach. The entire facility would be cooled using evaporative cooling strategies and take advantage of the lower web bulb temperatures of the pacific northwest.

The facility operates at a very efficient PUE of 1.16, an industry benchmark where 1.0 is perfect and 1.5 is typical for those cooled with conventional HVAC systems. With the intensity of the energy use in the facility and the super efficiency of the system, the data center saves hundreds of thousands of dollars each year and set the standard for everyone in the industry to try to better. DB Engineering showed an industry it can save millions of dollars each year, reduce carbon footprints and lighten the load on existing power plants dealing with the steady increase in demand for data centers worldwide.