Transforming the Digital Landscape with Energy Efficient Data Center Cooling Tech

According to an article in Data Center Knowledge, “Many of the industry’s best known landmarks are carrier hotels, the huge connectivity hubs in major cities that bring together dozens (and sometimes hundreds) of networks and providers. They house large amounts of data center and telecom facilities, but typically also have office tenants. The most prominent of these include: … One Wilshire: This Los Angeles carrier hotel is one of the best-known telecom buildings in the country, with more than half of the 665,000 square foot property occupied by communications companies…”

Data Center Design & Server Room Cooling Requirements

Since 2013, GI Partners (Owner) and Swanson Rink (mechanical and electrical consulting engineering firm) developed a master-plan and subsequent building upgrades [for the One Wilshire building] that allow new tenants to take advantage of fiber connectivity as well as Tier III mechanical and electrical infrastructure. In 2015, One Wilshire was considered “the most highly connected Internet point in the western U.S.,” according to Forbes, with underseas cables allowing “one-third of Internet traffic from the U.S. to Asia [to pass] through the building.”

The initial plan established three critical design criteria.

  • Develop a design to expand the capacity and upgrade the reliability of the building mechanical and electrical infrastructure without interrupting current critical operations within the building.
  • Develop a phasing plan to allow upgrades to occur in response to marketing needs (i.e. lease negotiations), rather than with large upfront expenditures.
  • Develop an energy efficient cooling design to not only meet the requirements of Title 24 and those of the California Energy Code, but also be an energy-efficient design by current data center design standards.

Ultra-Modern Energy Efficient CRAC Unit

According to Swanson Rink engineers, “Seizing an opportunity for innovation, the design team worked on behalf of GI Partners to develop an efficient cooling system beyond the requirements of Title 24. The specific goal was to provide a design supply air temperature within ASHRAE TC 9.9 guidelines and to provide compressor-less cooling for at least 50% of the time. The final solution provides compressor-less cooling for 6,238 hours (71.2% of total hours) while providing a supply air temperature of 74°F, well within the guidelines of ASHRAE TC 9.9. This design results in an initial annualized cooling system PUE that is sub 1.2.

While several manufacturers said this could not be done, Data Aire agreed to work with Swanson Rink to customize their standard CRAC units to meet the performance required for this application. Over the course of a year and many discussions and iterations, the Data Aire and Swanson Rink team developed a solution to meet project requirements with a purpose-built Data Aire CRAC system.”

Here’s how it all went down…

At the engineer’s request, Data Aire took a look at our tried and true technology and optimized one of our Computer Room Air Conditioners (CRAC) for the growing demands of today’s most modern data centers. This minimized the risk associated with designing a completely new unit.

However, we were purposeful in the changes we made to it. One of the most significant was to use Data Aire’s V3 Technology, which includes a variable speed compressor operated by a variable frequency drive. This enhanced energy efficient cooling system has two modes of operation to help achieve the critical design criteria for the building owner and its colocation tenants.

1) Compressor assist to economizer mode, and 2) economizer-only mode.

*The takeaway here is that this purpose-built CRAC system benefits from some percentage of free cooling 365 days a year.*

When the compressor is at maximum efficiency, it reduces the flow to the minimum rate, and for example, when the Data Aire CRAC receives water at 67 degrees or below the compressors do not need to operate at all.

This exceeds California state energy efficiency requirements by a wide margin.

Watch our on-demand webinar hosted by Consulting Specifying Engineer magazine where we dive into the project in greater detail.


Data Center Cooling Solutions Guide