Case Study: Data Center for a Leading Global Technology Provider

Achieving an Outstanding PUE with the TECHVENT 5300

Project: Data Center for a Leading Global Technology Provider

Location: North Carolina

Architect: O'Brien/Atkins Associates, PA

System: TECHVENT 5300

A leading global technology provider specializing in storage efficiency and cloud capabilities was expanding fast. They were rapidly outgrowing their research and development facility and needed to build a new one to accommodate their increasing workforce and mounting client demands. While the need was immediate, the expansion couldn’t be hasty – it had to meet the client's high sustainability and energy-conserving standards.

Some background: When the client built their first lab, it was designed to maximize Power Usage Effectiveness, or PUE – a metric that measures how efficiently a computer data center uses energy; specifically, how much energy is used by the computing equipment (in contrast to cooling and other overhead). Computer systems generate a lot of heat when they are run, and to keep them from overheating, cooling apparatuses must be utilized. Typical PUEs for data centers are around 2.0. An ideal and outstanding PUE is 1.0, meaning that 100% of the energy consumed is being used by the computing equipment. A 1.0 PUE is difficult to achieve.

The client's original facility, a 132,000 square foot building, had achieved a PUE of 1.4 – an admirable level, but the client thought they could do better.  The expansion would be a 155,000 square facility packed with computer equipment. A PUE less than 1.4 seemed impossible for the new building, but O'Brien/Atkins Associates took on the challenge.

One way to obtain a lower PUE was to use an operable window system that could be opened to remove hot air during the pre-cooling mode. Thus, O'Brien/Atkins Associates elected to incorporate EXTECH’s TECHVENT 5300 into the expansion design.

The architect’s original concept utilized fixed metal louvers; when the TECHVENT 5300 was being considered, the EXTECH team developed a better framing system that would lend itself to more energy-efficiency and easy installation.

The TECHVENT 5300 was used for approximately 22,000 square feet of operating and fixed windows, complete with insect and bird screens. When all was said and done, the expansion achieved a 1.14 PUE.

If you would like to find out more about this project or the TECHVENT 5300, we're more than happy to chat! Please contact us for more information.