Top 6 Ways to Improve Data Center Efficiency

By: Daniel Bodenski, PE, LEED AP, Director of Strategic Solutions at Electronic Environments Co.

The data center has become a staple of modern society, making the technology that we use every day possible.  Today, everyone from small start-up organizations to multi-billion dollar corporations utilize mission-critical facilities to house their vital data, and as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data continue to proliferate, our demand for more data centers will only increase.

With growing energy costs and data center energy consumption nearly 100 times higher than that of a typical commercial building, data center owners and operators are placing a higher focus on improving energy efficiency within their facilities.  Maintaining energy efficiency is critical to running a reliable, high-capacity, and cost-efficient mission-critical facility.  At Electronic Environments Co. (EEC), we are dedicated to enabling our clients to develop the most efficient and profitable data centers possible, allowing for maximum uptime while minimizing capital and operational costs.

When it comes to data center energy efficiency, there are six key ways you can improve your bottom line while still ensuring total reliability.  Below, we will examine these key strategies and help you answer the question, “How can my data center be more energy efficient?”

  1. Assessments

Performing a detailed assessment of your data center’s operational performance will give you clear and concrete insight into the particular ways your data center can be improved, outlining the individual areas in which current energy efficiency practices may fall short.  Review of airflow management, implementing a detailed PUE analysis, and obtaining real-time data hall temperature measurements, are all important metrics to assess in order to develop a fully strategic plan to lower energy costs. Data center assessment professionals are equipped to provide comprehensive results through in-depth analysis and can provide recommendations for design, installation and maintenance improvements resulting in quick and cost-effective solutions. An assessment can also be used to prepare for external audits, and provide foundational data for developing thorough strategies.

  1. Equipment Upgrades

As society evolves, so too do our technologies, putting increased demand on data center capabilities. Equipment upgrades are necessary to maintain a robust and reliable facility. Moreover, in order to make data centers increasingly efficient, new technologies are continually developed that reduce overall energy consumption, such as ECO mode Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), 380V DC power systems, lighting system retrofits, efficient chillers, and more. By knowing what new technologies exist and understanding the return on investment of many of these upgrades, you may be able to use many to your advantage within your data center’s lifecycle.

  1. Maintenance

If your current equipment is unreliable or beyond its normal lifespan, it could be adding to your operating costs and could pose a serious threat to reliability.  Downtime is the number one critical issue, as it will not only hurt your bottom line, but your reputation as a reliable organization. The Ponemon Institute reports that data center downtime costs an average of $7,900 per minute. Can you afford that? By employing a comprehensive maintenance routine, trained specialists should be engaged to check generator heaters and batteries, test load banks, sample generator coolant, fuel and oil, and regularly exercise overcurrent protective devices. These activities, coupled with implementation of an on-demand Asset Management system, will increase operational efficiency and reduce overall critical system downtime.

  1. Dynamic Cooling Management

Every data center is unique, so its cooling solutions should be as well.  Cooling plays a critical role in the energy efficiency of a data center. Finding the correct model for your individual facility is of capital importance. With a dynamic cooling model that’s easy to deploy, you can see immediate energy savings, more efficient network transformation, and increased network reliability. Instead of zone-level control, fans are individually optimized based on real-time readings, utilizing rack sensors and control modules to collect temperature requirements and Computer Room Air Conditioning (CRAC) airflow and power metrics, resulting in a fully optimized, intelligent cooling system.

  1. Airflow Management

Poor airflow management leads to a lot of undesirable results, including the recirculation of supply air, causing hotspots and reducing the overall effectiveness of the data center’s cooling plant.  By implementing simple airflow management techniques, such as adding floor grommets, implementing partial or full containment, and adding blanking panels, data center operators can see reduced plenum losses, and immediate energy savings. This is a simple, low-cost method to reap instant financial benefits and improve Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE).

  1. Baseline Energy Reduction

Sustainable energy sources such as solar, fuel cell and wind power are becoming more and more commonplace within data centers to reduce overall energy use, shrink their carbon footprint and become more energy independent. Not only can sustainable energy sources reduce energy usage, self-contained power plants can also offer data center operators the option to develop a micro-grid, which decreases the reliance on an aging, electrical infrastructure and provides a strategy for modular data center solutions.

To learn more about these six strategies for enhanced energy efficiency, check out our eBook, “6 Ways to Improve Data Center Energy Efficiency”.  If you would like more information about any of these solutions or feel that you could benefit from customized professional assistance, please visit www.eecnet.com or email us at info@eecnet.com.

About the Author:

bodenskiDaniel Bodenski, PE, LEED AP, is Director of Strategic Solutions at Electronic Environments Co. Mr. Bodenski has over 20 years of experience in mechanical systems design and project management for mission critical facilities. He has managed several large design, due diligence, site assessment and commissioning projects for telecommunications, healthcare, financial and retail data center clients. At EEC, he proactively increases facility reliability through implementation of new technology for mission critical facilities.

Not Ready for Winter? Your Data Center Humidification System Should Be

By Jim Lundrigan, Vice President of Operations, Electronic Environments Corporation

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The cold is almost upon us once again and just like people, data centers can be prone to the winter blues, too.  As the temperatures drop and humidity decreases, it is important to ensure the necessary environmental adjustments are made within data centers to protect equipment.  This entails ensuring equipment which may have remained inactive during the summer and fall months is now able to operate with higher frequency at peak efficiency.  In the cooler, drier climate brought on by the changing seasons, this requires maintaining proper humidity levels, which is essential to achieving high availability and reducing operational costs within the data center.

Proper maintenance of data center humidification systems is necessary in drier climates to prevent static electricity that can build up and discharge – typically caused by cool, low humidity air moving throughout the facility.  Static electricity and electrostatic discharge (ESD) can lead to damaged computing equipment, including instances of blown fuses.  For the majority of data center facilities, staying within the American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommended humidity and temperature guidelines (64.4° F – 80.6° F; 41.9° F – DP-59° F dew point) ensures a highly stable and effective environment for the efficient and reliable operation of mission-critical functions.

Identifying and remediating malfunctioning humidification equipment is also key to preventing water leakage resulting from blocked drainage.  Water leakage can severely damage the unit and surrounding IT equipment.  Malfunctioning humidification equipment is also the culprit behind the less obvious excess water vapor, which can slowly deteriorate components of a cooling unit.  Well-maintained systems are critical to reducing nuisance alarms, return calls and their related high price tags between preventive maintenance (PM) visits.  Monitoring and changing set points can also result in substantial power savings and increased energy efficiency.  At Electronic Environments Corporation (EEC), we’ve noticed a trend, much like that of raising intake air temperatures, in which customers are lowering humidification set points from 45% to 40% to 35% to reduce energy costs over time.

EEC has been providing customers with strategic guidance across all areas of data center systems, designs and environments for over three decades.  We help our customers prepare for and proactively prevent future data center challenges by providing a comprehensive scheduling of inspections and repairs.  This includes critical elements such as ensuring humidification systems are functioning at peak efficiency through the modification settings while preparing for seasonal changes and cooler, drier weather.  EEC’s humidification system inspections encompass:

  • Starting a humidification system and performing diagnostics;
  • Checking condensation pump operations and cleaning as needed;
  • Confirming that set points are operating correctly;
  • Examining overloads, fuses and electrical operations to ensure proper functionality;
  • Removing and cleaning humidifier pans and drain lines from build-up and deposits;
  • Adjusting pan water levels while testing and adjusting water overflow safety devices;
  • Calibrating humidity sensors; and
  • Maintaining water filtration systems that feed humidifiers (where applicable).

EEC leverages deeply-rooted data center expertise to develop and deploy customized solutions for data center maintenance in order to accommodate each customer’s unique business needs.  Examples of our customized solutions range from steam canister humidifiers, which offer simpler troubleshooting but a higher replacement cost, to UV systems, which require more maintenance, or ultrasonic systems, which requires larger up-front investments but run more efficiently and produce long-term energy savings.

While maintenance is critical during seasonal changes, it’s important to inspect equipment regularly year-round to ensure data centers function efficiently.  Prepare your humidification system and data center for the coming cold and dryness.  While you may not be ready for winter, your data center certainly should be; your business depends on it.

To learn how EEC can help your data center prepare for the cold, email info@eecnet.com or click here for more information.

Rising Demand for Data Center Construction Yields Three Strategic Appointments to the Electronic Environments Corporation Team

By: Laurie Samper, Technical Writer, iMiller Public Relations

According to analysts at TechNavio, the global data center construction market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.99 percent over the period 2013-2018. With growing customer demand for new data center construction, Electronic Environments Corporation (EEC) appointed three new members to its dynamic team: Mike Walsh, Technical Services Manager; Robert Hoffman, Project Executive; and Scott Willard, Northeast Region Senior Project Manager/Construction Manager.  The news of EEC’s expansion comes shortly after the recent onboarding of Mission Critical Construction Services Division President Kevin O’Brien in July.

Mr. Hoffman joins EEC as Project Executive, Mission Critical Construction Services, where he is responsible for overseeing all aspects of service quality as well as the development of the project management team along with its strategy, systems, controls and performance.  Prior to EEC, Mr. Hoffman served as Senior Project Manager at CBRE, where he oversaw several large technology infrastructure projects.  He also worked at Skanska USA as a Senior Project Manager for its Buildings Mission Critical team and Structure Tone, where he was one of the first employees of its mission-critical group handling national data center roll-outs for companies such as Teleglobe.

Mr. Walsh has played a key role at EEC, creating the company’s Technical Services Division as well as setting the standards for critical infrastructure construction.  As Technical Services Manager, he is responsible for executing all facets of pre-construction initiatives.  Prior to EEC, Mr. Walsh developed formulas to build a $200M data center for AT&T and has served as Technical Services Manager for numerous companies including the New England Center for Excellence for Gilbane Builders and Structure Tone Mission Critical.

As EEC’s Northeast Region Senior Project Manager/Construction Manager, Mission Critical Facilities Services, Mr. Willard is responsible for managing project schedules, developing project scopes and pricing, creating and maintaining EEC construction standards, and overseeing quality control functions during construction projects.  Prior to joining EEC, he served as a Senior Project Executive, Construction Division at Tocco Building Systems.

With over 25 years of industry experience, EEC is committed to supporting its customers through all phases of the mission critical lifecycle leveraging its unique, holistic approach, Mission Critical Lifecycle Services (MCLS).  This includes all aspects of planning, design management, construction, operations and maintenance and assessments.  The company’s new appointments bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the EEC team, enabling it to further build on its customer commitment and propelling the company to the forefront of the data center and telecommunications facility design, build and maintenance services industry.

For more information about Electronic Environments Corporation and its Mission Critical Lifecycle Services, please visit www.eecnet.com and http://www.eecnet.com/Home/Mission-Critical-Construction-Services/.

 Long-Term Benefits of Proactive Data Center Planning

By: Joanna Styczen, Technical Writing Director, iMiller Public Relations

Failing to consider long-term needs during the planning stages of a data center project can result in disastrous consequences in the future.  It is absolutely critical to provide due diligence during the early developmental stages of infrastructure design to avoid potential issues down the road.  Proper planning and management can create an optimum environment encompassing faster, simpler and more efficient processes throughout the data center lifecycle.  Through meticulous custom design, customers can also benefit from ease of installation, growth anticipation, serviceability and flexibility for years to come.

Electronic Environments Corporation (EEC) leverages nearly three decades of experience in mission critical facility design and management to maximize the overall efficiency of clients’ facilities.

Hoping to educate the public using its extensive expertise, EEC has issued a position paper entitled “Key Considerations before Beginning a New Data Center Project”. This paper,written by EEC’s President of Mission Critical Construction Services Kevin O’Brien,offers customers insight into EEC’s unique, holistic view and forward-thinking process for data center design.  EEC helps develop all-inclusive, tested solutions to ensure optimum productivity throughout the entire lifecycle of mission critical facilities.  By proactively eliminating both common and complex issues alike, EEC assists companies in avoiding unnecessary expenses and ensuring continual uptime.

Without proper, experienced guidance and support, data center projects are often ill-conceived and leave companies struggling during inevitable future situations for the sake of lower costs during the early design process.  Real-life examples in “Key Considerations before Beginning a New Data Center Project” illustrate how spending a little extra time and money upfront enables a company to save time, money and manpower while maintaining a positive reputation in the long run.

To read EEC’s latest position paper, ‘Key Considerations before Beginning a New Data Center Project’, visit http://www.eecnet.com/key-considerations-before-beginning-a-new-data-center-project/.

For more information about how your company can appear in the Data Center Discovery global directory of data center solution providers please email becca@datacenterdiscovery.com

How Mission Critical Lifecycle Services (MCLS) Optimize Performance, Reliability and Value in the Data Center

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By Ken Rapoport, Founder and CEO, Electronic Environments Corporation

Today’s data center operators realize the value in viewing their mission-critical facilities and data centers as a single, integrated system to improve overall performance and reliability.  When all systems, technologies and personnel work together throughout a data center’s lifecycle, companies can experience optimum results and achieve maximum output.. This new paradigm disrupts the traditional lifecycle perspective, namely focusing on each isolated, specialized data center component.

Adopting this principle has enabled mission critical facility management leader Electronic Environments Corporation (EEC) to transform traditional infrastructure solution deliveries using a unique, holistic approach, Mission Critical Lifecycle Services (MCLS).  MCLS offers a homogeneous approach to data center infrastructure that enables simplified management and overcomes the evolving challenges of data center operators.  Creating a paradigm shift from traditional infrastructure lifecycle management, EEC views data centers as one unified structure, addressing all five interrelated areas of the mission-critical facilities lifecycle.

  1. Planning

EEC provides data center operators with the right information and guidance based on years of proven industry experience. For nearly three decades, EEC’s experts have encountered a wide array of infrastructure design flaws, bringing these experiences forward to the planning phase in order to produce a highly efficient infrastructure plan.

2. Design Management

From site feasibility studies to selection analyses or design engineering, EEC’s value exceeds that of typical data center design firms in that it broadens its focus to include the design of facilities’ full lifecycle.  EEC takes into account the construction, maintenance and serviceability for each unique project – and has done so since inception.

3. Construction

Over the years, EEC team members have been entrusted with constructing over 20 million square feet of data center space.  As a result, the EEC team has proven experience in construction management, design build, cost estimation, project management, scheduling, equipment procurement, building evaluation, pre-construction, commissioning management, sustainability / Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Building Information Modeling (BIM) and quality assurance and control (QA/QC).

4. Operations & Maintenance (O&M)

For the last 28 years, EEC’s maintenance offerings have ensured the optimal performance and maximum uptime of customer sites.  EEC offers monitoring, infrastructure training, legal and regulatory compliance, on-site facility management, mobile 7x24x365 service,; performance and acceptance testing procedures and benchmarking, predictive analysis and maintenance, and rigorous Statements of Work (SOWs) and Methods of Procedure (MOPs).

EEC customers have benefited from cost savings, reduced service calls, improved availability, vendor consolidation / convenience, and more from the integration of its services. Through offering these superior services, EEC has seen a 98% renewal rate, with clients continually reaping the benefits of the company’s constantly tested methodologies.

5. Assessments

Today’s operators need to have a detailed and transparent view into their data center infrastructure and operations.  This helps them identify areas for improvement as well as enhance their ability to meet evolving customer requirements.  EEC provides assessments for reliability, energy efficiency, VFD retrofits, airflow management, CFD analysis, data center refresh, operational processes and quality to help customers meet new business and IT objectives.

EEC’s MCLS approach addresses all aspects of the mission-critical facilities lifecycle and offers operators peace of mind for their total data center environment from a single point of contact (POC).   Having a single POC also leads to simplified data center management and increased productivity.  EEC’s comprehensive response and rapid deployment capabilities also lead to high reliability and system availability.

Many EEC customers realize substantial cost reductions with EEC; customers selecting more than one service or solution benefit from lower rates through economies of scale.  For enterprises or companies with multiple sites, leveraging a single provider like EEC across all facilities enables more manageable standardization and scale.  Each EEC customer also receives custom predictive and preventative maintenance programs tailored to their specific needs.

For more information about EEC and MCLS please visit their profile in the Data Center Discovery global directory of data center solution providers

For more information about how your company can get listed in the Data Center Discovery global directory of data center solution providers please email becca@datacenterdiscovery.com

Electronic Environments Corporation Expands Mission Critical Construction Services Division and Welcomes Kevin O’Brien to its Executive Team

New innovations and rising demand for data center colocation facilities are driving the rapid growth of today’s data center construction market.  To address these emerging demands and technologies, businesses are looking to optimize and transform their data center operations.   Recent research from TechNavio predicts a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) rise of 21.99 percent in the global data center construction market from 2013 to 2018, while Markets and Markets forecasts the global data center networking market will grow from $12.49 billion in 2013 to $21.85 billion by 2018, a CAGR of 11.8 percent within the five-year period.

Leading mission critical facility management company Electronic Environments Corporation (EEC) recently announced the expansion of its Mission Critical Construction Services Division.  The division enables EEC customers to overcome data center and wireless infrastructure challenges and reach their Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) and Service Level Agreement (SLA) objectives leveraging unique, comprehensive and integrated facility services, spanning:

  • Data center construction
  • Consulting
  • Design
  • Comprehensive assessments
  • Maintenance programs
  • Data center efficiency solutions

In addition to the expansion of its Mission Critical Construction Services Division, the organization also appointed a new Division President, Kevin O’Brien.  An industry veteran with over 30 years of engineering and construction experience, Mr. O’Brien brings to EEC in-depth expertise in preconstruction, estimating, procurement, construction and commissioning.   Over the last 15 years, the new Division President has solely focused on mission critical construction, serving a wide array of industries.  Throughout his professional tenure as Director of Mission Critical at Structure Tone and Gilbane, Inc, O’Brien was entrusted with over 13 million square feet of critical construction projects.  He also worked at Bear Stearns, a global investment bank and securities trading and brokerage firm.

EEC has been providing mission critical facility management and turnkey Mission Critical Lifecycle Services (MCLS) to data center and telecom sites across the U.S. for over 28 years.  For more information about Electronic Environments Corporation and its expanded Mission Critical Construction Services Division, visit www.eecnet.com.

For more information about how your company can get listed in the Data Center Discovery global directory of data center solution providers please email becca@datacenterdiscovery.com