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University of Warwick Freecool® Evaporative Fresh Air Cooling Project

28th, May 2011

Warwick is one of the UK’s leading universities, with an acknowledged reputation for excellence in research and teaching, innovation, and for its links with business and industry. Employing nearly 5000 staff and supporting over 22,000 students, the University of Warwick is one of the largest education establishments in the UK.

Client Situation

As part of the University of Warwick’s strategy to reduce overall campus energy consumption, evaporative fresh air cooling systems were considered as a greener alternative to traditional DX condenser based air conditioning systems.

Following a successful pilot in a small communications room, the decision was made by the University Energy Manager to replace aging DX technology on a number of laboratory, plant room, communication room and within the existing data centre facility.

Workspace Technology was able to offer the University a complete turnkey design and build solution based on its innovative evaporative FreeCool® system.

University House Data Centre

The University House data centre consisted of 40 equipment racks laid out in a four aisles with two cold and three hot. The data centre cooling consisted of a series of ceiling mounted air conditioning cassettes combined with additional temporary chilled water cooling through portable air handling units. The total power consumption for the cooling was in excess of 50kW.

Due to the rack arrangement, the deployment of fresh air free cooling within the data centre presented a considerable challenge. Workspace Technology’s project team designed a custom ducting arrangement which directed cool air to the cold aisles and extracted air from the hot aisles. The ducting configuration allowed for hot air recirculation to reheat cold air during cooler periods using the unique atemperation system with 0-10V operated motorised dampers. Workspace Technology deployed four 30kW FreeCool® units providing a total cooling capacity of 120kW.

Following commissioning of the FreeCool® evaporative air cooled system the existing air conditioning was switched off. The resulting energy savings were remarkable. Total mechanical cooling power was reduced from 50 to less than 4kW contributing to 46kW power savings.

As a result the University’s energy bill was reduced by over £40,000 per annum and presenting a payback period of less than 16 months. The equivalent CO2 saving are 215 tonnes per annum.

Additional Buildings

Further FreeCool® systems were also deployed in two UPS rooms to help maintain battery temperature and also within the Mathematics and Statistics Laboratory. The new FreeCool® units replaced existing mechanical cooling systems.

Complete Design & Build

As a specialist Data Centre Design, Build and Management company, Workspace Technology was able to deliver a complete installation service inclusive of all ducting, mechanical systems, building, and electrical installation works.

PLC controllers were integrated into each room to provide full system control based on air intake and extract temperature and pressure readings. The system can be configured with traditional Modbus or 10/100 LAN interface cards for remote control. External alarm signals enable the existing AC systems to be switched on in the event of a system failure.

Following successful system commissioning the data centre PUE* was measured at 1.15 which is an exceptional figure.

This case study demonstrates the versatility of Workspace Technology’s FreeCool® system and we are proud of our ability to deliver industry leading data centre energy efficiency.

* Power Usage Effectiveness is the industry recognised standard for data centre room efficiency measurement introduced by the Green Grid.

Workspace Technology provides expert energy efficient data centre, server and communications room solutions and services for corporate and public sector clients across the UK. For further information please contact the Sales and Technical Manager Roy Griffiths at roy.griffiths@workspace-technology.com 0121 354 4894.

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