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Chillers key in making cool data centre savings

Efficient HVAC approach from colos can save over 10% in cooling costs.

By Joao Lima

Data centres cooled with chillers can reduce up to 100 kwh of energy usage per month, according to Waste Management.

The provider of integrated environmental solutions partnered with data centre designers Alcatex to replace its Austin data centre chiller plants in summer 2014.

2N redundancy chiller units, covering 10,250 sqft of raised-floor, were installed as part of the revamp.

The company predicts savings of over 11.3% on straight energy usage, along with power factor correction savings, resulting in combined savings of more than 13.2% annually.

The Austin hub’s PUE also improved to 1.54, according to Waste.

Vernon Williams, data centre manager at Waste Management, said: "We’re seeing about a 100 kWh drop in monthly power utilisation which is about a ten percent reduction in our usage overall at the facility, attributable to the new chillers, pumps and CRAH units when compared to the former chillers.

"Our power factor was low at 0.75 and it has improved considerably to 0.88."

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The firm deployed into its data centre, two Daikin 400-ton Pathfinder air-cooled chillers with RapidRestore’s system and a fast loading solution built-in for uptime.

Brian Kirkpatrick, director of infrastructure operations at Waste Management, said that RapidRestore gets the chiller back at full performance within three to five minutes.

The chiller plant also includes variable frequency drives (VFD) that add a high power-factor rating without the use of capacitors.

Waste carried the chillers installation during a heat wave and operations took place within two few-hour segments over weekends in June and July 2014.

Gautam Roy, VP of IT at Waste, said: "The level of risk to keep our production data centre operational during the chiller plant replacement process meant contingency planning."

To speed the process, the company made pre-connections before hooking up the chillers.

Roy said: "During each installation, we made system pump replacements, adding new pumps with VFD drives as well."

Kirkpatrick, said: "Should something have happened during the replacement, we had a temporary chiller trailer-mounted with dual pumps available on site as a redundant system to bring back operations as quickly as possible."

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