Sibley Textile Mill

Challenge

With the amount of data doubling every one and a half years, Cape Augusta Digital Properties (CADP) sought to answer the rapidly growing need for computing and processing facilities. Objectives for the development of a new data center were threefold. CADP wished to locate the facility in a secondary market close to customers in need of the critical technology; give back to the surrounding community by developing a site of historical significance; and leverage an alternative energy source in a unique cooling system design to limit environmental impact, while providing efficiency, redundancy, reliability and comfort. Identifying Sibley Textile Mill as an ideal site, the developer sought to make use of the Augusta Canal running through the mill to cool the data center, and provide a natural source of hydropower to enable higher efficiencies.

Solution

CADP enlisted the expertise of Trane to help uncover challenges they might encounter using the canal as an alternate energy source for free cooling, and supplemental cooling, for data center loads, and to determine how to use the natural source of water effectively over the long-term.

Exploring design options

Through a series of conference calls with CADP and their engineering consultant, Johnson, Spellman & Associates, Inc., Trane gleaned details of the project challenges, objectives and performance specifications, and helped explore preliminary design concepts. The developer and their engineers met with the Trane account team, systems experts, and product managers at the Trane facilities in LaCrosse, WI, for a Design Day to explore key issues and challenges. Trane presented potential stressful situations, such as the event of canal water being unavailable due to natural causes or maintenance, explained chiller performance with in-depth modeling, worked through complex controls sequencing to achieve proper water and data temperatures, and demonstrated Trane Chiller Plant Optimization to improve energy efficiency. Working together, the team developed creative ways to harness the water source to generate hydropower that will supply a significant portion of the power required to run the data center.

Providing redundancy, optimizing operations

The facility will use canal water as the primary cooling source, rejecting heat produced by the servers, and mechanical cooling as the backup. Trane® CenTraVac™ centrifugal water-cooled chillers will allow the plant to operate at a 20 degree delta T, with a 55 degree chilled water loop, to reduce water flow and pumping horsepower. Much of the year, the system will make use of free cooling, unique in the southern geographic area, to enable the facility to run without mechanical cooling. Energy use will be reduced by balancing efficiencies at two optimization points, the chiller and the pumps, to help achieve overall building efficiency. The team was also able to uncover issues with air side solutions and control functions, applying custom Trane® Performance Climate Changer™ air handlers in the design to circumvent issues, avoid cost, and reduce energy use. The Trane design will enable CADP to achieve a power usage efficiency (PUE) of 1.13 to 1.15.

Enhancing tenant satisfaction, managing energy use

A Trane Tracer® Ensemble™ building management system will provide integrated control of systems. With Tracer Ensemble, facility managers can address comfort issues, make schedule changes, adjust set points, manage alarms, and troubleshoot issues to enhance tenant satisfaction, and improve energy management capabilities. Using Intelligent Services from the Trane® Building Advantage™ portfolio of services, CADP will employ Building Performance analytical software to gain data-driven insights to proactively manage the facility, and take advantage of recommendations from Trane professionals to lower cost, reduce energy use, and to help ensure optimal system performance. Offsite 24/7 Active Monitoring will enable the local Trane office to respond to critical alarm issues, helping reach peak performance and uptime.

Results

Working as a team, CADP, Johnson, Spellman & Associates, Inc., and Trane developed a reliable, energy efficient, sustainable system design for the new Sibley Textile Mill data center. The group achieved project objectives to create a regional data center conveniently located for users, protect a building of historical significance, and reduce energy use to lower environmental impact. The data center is expected to consume roughly one third of the energy typically used in a like-kind environment, providing an efficient, lower cost space for tenants. Pleased to have the historical Sibley Textile Mill repurposed, the area will enjoy the economic benefits of a new industry and additional jobs being brought to the community.

 

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