A major private research university wanted to improve energy efficiency in its legacy high-density data center by upgrading everything from air conditioning and power systems to airflow balance and cold aisle containment. However, the fire marshal refused to allow modifications to the complex overhead fire suppression system.

Because the fire marshal insisted that the fire suppression and detection system not be moved or modified in any way, our solution included custom-designing the hard containment around the functions of the fire systems. In cold aisles, we built containment pods without roofs to allow access to the fire suppression system and smoke detectors. On end aisles, the sides of the contained pods implemented sliding Electrorack doors to contain cold air.

Through our upgrades, the university significantly improved PUE and received more than $300,000 in rebates from utility provider PG&E. The university was also able to raise set points on air conditioners by 6 degrees, netting a continued energy savings of roughly 24% each month.