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ADC Green 1 McClellen Data Center: Groundbreaking Data Center Energy Efficiency

Peter Rumsey, Rumsey Engineers, Inc.
Bob Seese, Advanced Data Centers

This next-generation, high-density data center is being planned as a 20 megawatt, highly energy efficient facility, with an extremely low estimated power utilization efficiency (PUE) of 1.09 (0.91 DCIE), perhaps the lowest for a facility of its kind in the United States. A standard high-efficiency data center has a PUE of 1.6 (0.625 DCIE). Annual energy savings for this project are projected to be in the neighborhood of 21 percent, or $2,150,000.

The primary energy efficiency strategies for the mechanical system will result in a reduction of cooling energy use compared to a typical data center of approximately 73 percent. The chief mechanical strategies are: the air side economizer, a high-efficiency chiller plant, and high-efficiency fan systems.

The design for the 156,600-square-foot facility is targeting a LEED® Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). To date the highest LEED rating for a data center is a Gold-Level certification for a Digital Realty facility in Chicago, Illinois. When constructed, the data center will become the second largest customer for the local utility, the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District (SMUD).

The most dramatic energy savings are realized from the unique building-integrated outside air economizer system. The facility is located in Sacramento, where costs for electricity are less than in the Bay Area. However, this advantage is offset by the fact that peak cooling loads in summer are much higher. This was overcome by an air-side design that can utilize free cooling in a wide range of temperatures. Full air-side economizing is in operation at temperatures up to 70°F, and partial economizing is in operation between 70°F and 95°F OSAT.

The electrical system features 97 percent efficient Hitec flywheel generators; Powersmiths e-Saver power distributors, which are 50 percent more efficient when partly loaded (at a 40 percent load) compared to double conversion battery UPSs and standard efficiency PDUs; and "loop" electrical feeds with automatic transfer switches for redundant 2N distribution design. A key goal of the design team is to keep construction costs for the project comparable to standard data center designs, while designing an innovative and efficient system, rather than simply paying whatever it takes to get the most efficient conventional components. In other words, the most important initial investment is in a whole-systems design approach, which optimizes the performance of all components. Also, ease of maintenance, which takes into account adequate access space and maintenance schedules, will be a key factor in the design, as it has a direct impact on reliability and efficient system operation.


Peter Rumsey is founder and president of Rumsey Engineers, Inc. As a global player in energy efficiency, Peter has over 20 years of experience in a broad range of government, scientific, and private sector projects. His expertise includes design of efficient HVAC systems and energy monitoring systems in commercial buildings and critical environments, management of project teams, and analysis of design options using computer simulation tools.

Peter has published many papers on energy efficiency and HVAC issues. Before founding Rumsey Engineers, he held engineering and management positions at Sol*Arc Architects, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, XENERGY Energy Consultants, the International Institute for Energy Conservation, and Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

Mr. Rumsey is a Senior Fellow of the Rocky Mountain Institute, has a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley, and is a registered Mechanical Engineer in 11 states, including California, Arizona and Texas. He is a Certified Energy Manager and an active member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE). The AEE San Francisco Bay Area Chapter named Peter Energy Engineer of the Year in 2001.

Bob Seese has worked extensively in the mission-critical facility, facility management, and construction industries and has more than 20 years of global data center design, project engineering, and project management experience,

Formerly the Chief Data Center Architect with EDS and the Director of Data Center Development with Equinix, he has managed many data center projects and has helped design many of the world's cutting edge facilities. While with Netscape and AOL, Bob helped design and build over 300,000 square feet of data center space throughout the U.S. More recently, as a data center consultant, he has provided design assistance and training as well as end-to-end project support for engineers and end-users worldwide.

He has authored and co-authored several technical articles and has lectured globally on issues related to energy efficiency in mission-critical environments, and on specific data center design concepts. He has completed more than 800 data center audits worldwide and has amassed a vast library of the "best and worst practices" in the design and operation of those facilities.

He actively participated in the Rocky Mountain Institute's Integrated Design Charrette which resulted in the publication of the often quoted "Design Recommendations for High-Performance Data Centers." As a founding member of the Critical Facilities Round Table, Bob has continued to promote energy efficient design, particularly in mission-critical environments.

Bob holds a Master's degree in mechanical engineering and a Ph.D. in Educational Management, as well as Bachelor's degrees in motion pictures and television and liberal arts.

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