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Data Centers

The challenge for data center managers is to maintain or improve availability in increasingly dense computing environments while reducing costs and increasing efficiency.  Data centers are strategic business assets that continue to grow in importance, and data center managers are under pressure to optimize operational expenses and reduce energy consumption without risking downtime.

Dynamic Air Quality Solutions offers proven technologies to improve power usage effectiveness (PUE) and reduce airborne contaminants without impacting system availability.

Data Center


Previous generations of data center HVAC systems had to operate at full capacity all the time regardless of actual load demands.  And Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) systems operated most efficiently at full load although full-load operation is the exception rather than norm. A lack of flexibility in the power and cooling systems led to inherent energy inefficiency which has created a large opportunity for HVAC energy savings which can account for 35 percent of data center energy costs.

In any building using pre and post filtration of MERV 8 and 13 or even higher, Dynamic can reduce mid-life static pressure by more than 1 inch and design static by more than 1.75 inches. 
Lower static pressure corresponds directly to lower brake horsepower.  Brake horsepower drives fan energy and so on.  With Dynamic Air Cleaners, and using the prescriptive option under section 6.5.3 of ASHRAE 90.1, engineers can reduce energy and provide every customer with a payback worth investing in.

Dynamic Air Cleaners integrate perfectly with newer data center cooling technologies that utilize variable speed fan drives to adapt to changes and deliver high efficiency at reduced loads, which can result in fan energy savings of 50 percent or more.

Using an example of a 34,000 cfm air handler and a $.16 blended utility rate, using a Dynamic V8 Air Cleaning System instead of 85% cartridge filters can save over $8,000/year in fan energy costs.  Just from the reduction in static pressure in this model, design brake horsepower is reduced 14.3 bhp.

Air Quality

Today’s intricate and sensitive IT equipment requires a certain level of environmental control for gaseous and particulate contamination that is present within the environment.  Potential airborne contaminants can be overlooked and, if left unrestrained, can degrade the reliability and the continuous operation of mission critical IT equipment within a facility.  Particle and gaseous contamination can result in intermittent equipment glitches or in unplanned shutdowns of critical systems that often mean significant business and financial losses.

Outdoor air is the main source of particles in the data center environment.  This is an issue because increasingly data centers are being designed to take advantage of free cooling during certain times of the year.  Particles settle through four mechanisms: gravitational (relevant only above 1mm), diffusion, electrostatic, and turbulent flow precipitation.  Gases can either act alone or in conjunction with other gases or particles to form compounds that can result in oxidation on metallic surfaces.  Oxidation results from a chemical reaction which can cause irreversible destruction on the surface of a circuit board, or on the leads of a connector, or on the pins of an integrated circuit.

Reasons for increased concern include:

  • Trends towards compact equipment affect many factors that make airborne contamination a more significant issue than it has in the past.  Higher power densities within air-cooled equipment require extremely efficient heat sinks and greater air exchange volume increasing the airborne contaminant exposure.
  • The elimination of lead from electronics has made them more vulnerable to corrosion.
  • Particles can have abrasive, corrosive, electrically conductive, electrically insulative, or hygroscopic properties.  They can have:
    • Mechanical effects: obstruction of cooling airflow, interference with moving parts, abrasion, optical interference, interconnect interference, or deformation of surfaces and other similar effects.
    • Chemical effects: including corrosion and material property changes, such as embrittlement and optical clouding.
    • Electrical effects: including problems associated with the flow of electricity, such as providing unintended electrical paths.

Areas that are susceptible to particle matter accumulation include:

  • Small airflow openings.
  • Fine pitch heat sinks - the narrow channels in these are especially susceptible.
  • Areas where flow bypass is not possible (e.g. where air is directed onto a heat sink)
  • Areas where airflow changes speeds.
  • Sharp, rough, or adhesive surfaces

Airborne particles and gaseous contamination can cause a wide range of unwanted data center conditions that can affect the continued operation and reliability of equipment.  Degradation will vary depending on equipment location and the chemistry, quantity, and composition of contaminants.  Equipment issues arising from mechanical, thermal, chemical, or electrical degradation can be intermittent and difficult to diagnose; due, in part, to the interaction of multiple factors such as particles, gases, humidity, and other environmental factors that combine to trigger noticeable effects.  Therefore it is important to minimize airborne contamination.

Case Studies:

Power Loft Data Center
Energy Challenge: Energy Efficiency
Solution: Dynamic V8s