April 1, 2010 | bfeldman | Data Centers, Sustainability

Data Center Design continued – Sustainable Planning

Planning sustainably: minimizing waste, maximizing productivity

Sustainable design eliminates waste by maximizing resources. This can happen in multiple ways – even in mission-critical facilities, some functions can serve double duty. Perhaps with minor adjustments, the disaster recovery team can utilize conference rooms in a pinch. Maybe electrical or mechanical systems can be stacked above other systems to lessen pipe/duct lengths. Light duty mechanical spaces could be built adjacent to the data center on raised floor, providing a strategy for future expansion with minimal modifications. The thought is to look at each space and consider how it’s purpose can be optimized.

There are also limitations within equipment that can help to determine how to optimize your design. These limitations must be identified early in the design process – the value they add will be in proportion to how early they are incorporated into the design. For instance, if a space is being cooled with under-floor air distribution, determine where the “sweet spot” is for air distribution and plan room dimensions to coordinate with the limitations of your equipment. A room too wide won’t cool properly – a room too narrow might waste power by using more fan speed necessary to do the job.

Sustainable planning goes far beyond using recycled materials or low VOC paints. Minimizing waste while maximizing resources should be a central tenant of your sustainability initiative. This requires a holistic view of the entire project early on.

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