A high resilience cooling system from British cooling specialist, Airedale International, is outperforming targeted energy savings at a new 1,066sq.m. data centre at Cobalt Park, the UK’s largest office park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Airedale and nationwide building services contractor T Clarke – both based in Leeds – were selected to supply and integrate the cooling system for the first phase data centre which houses up to 440 racks (1000 x 800mm) with a total IT load of 1.6MW.

Against a target PUE (power usage effectiveness) of 1.35 at design stage, Airedale was able to offer a figure of 1.27, significantly lower than the nearest competitor offering of 1.38. Subsequent Independent Site Testing saw Airedale’s conservative value of 1.27 cut to a recorded 1.24, with all the indications that an even lower PUE of 1.12 is achievable. This should result in annual energy savings of up to £322,368 against the design target.

The contract for 3 x 1100kW OptiChill FreeCool chillers, 20 x 105kW SmartCool and 12 x 12-45kW EasiCool Airedale Chilled Water Precision Air Conditioning (PAC) units and controls integration services, was awarded on price, energy performance and facilities management expertise.

The SmartCool’s high efficiency EC fans are set to operate at up to 80% of full speed and still achieve maximum cooling performance at full load. Under Fan Affinity Law, this will reduce energy consumption by up to 50% for the same performance. Organised in four banks of five, if one of the five PAC units fails, the fans in the remaining four systems will ramp up to 100% to compensate, providing N+4 redundancy.

3 x 1100kW OptiChill FreeCool chillers typically save more than 50% of the energy consumed by a conventional chiller. Based on Newcastle weather data, the systems will operate on pure or partial free cooling for up to 97% of the year. At the average ambient Newcastle temperature of 10°C, the chillers will operate on pure free cooling with an energy efficiency ratio (EER) of 41.7, rising to 249.0 at 0°C ambient.

The Airedale sequence panel optimises system performance including maximising free cooling opportunities. Energy performance is also boosted by raising the supply and return chilled water temperatures to 18°C and 24°C respectively, improving compressor efficiency and lowering power input.

The cooling system was designed, manufactured, factory tested and delivered to site in under ten weeks.

Otto Seeger, director of T Clarke Leeds, Mission Critical Division, said: “Close collaboration on factory testing and delivery, enhancements such as sequencer controls to chillers and a commitment to achieving optimum system performance played an important role in saving energy and, ultimately, money for the end user over the life of the system.

“The PUE improvement at full load should save some £322k per annum2 and we managed to cut annual plant loading predictions in half. A lot of this is due to the over-performance of Airedale’s equipment on free cooling, fan optimisation and elevated chilled water temperatures.”

UK sales director for Airedale, Paul Oliver, added: “We’ve been a force in the cooling industry now for forty years and are respected around the world for our expertise. This, in combination with long-standing partnerships with contractors and facilities management specialists like T Clarke, ensures we are trusted by some of the UK’s largest data centre operators. The Cobalt installation is another in a long stream of successful data centre projects for clients ranging from the University of Leeds High Performance Computing facility to the Victoria & Albert Museum.”