Case Study

Data Center Upgrades Blocked By Fire Suppression System


A university seeks efficiency upgrades for 10,000 sqft Data Center including air conditioning, power, airflow balancing, and cold aisle containment. A big enough task on its own. But, as they start to plan for the refresh, they find that not everybody is onboard with this project. Namely, the university’s fire marshal, who has very rigid stipulations about how they should proceed. They are roadblocked by an existing Fire suppression system. The university’s fire marshal took one look at their existing high density, raised-floor data center with a complex overhead fire suppression system and immediately raised red flags.


Instor custom designed the hard containment around the features of the fire suppression system. Throughout the cold aisles, Instor built open containment pods without roofs. This allowed access to the sprinklers and the smoke detectors and clear lines of sight throughout the facility per the fire marshal.

In the end, Instor’s willingness to meet with the fire marshal and work out a reasonable, cost-effective plan helped push the project over the finish line with everyone involved satisfied with the results. Thanks to the upgrades, the university significantly improved its PUE and received more than $300,000 in rebates from PG&E, the local utility provider. It’s often estimated that data center operators can trim as much as four percent in energy costs for each upward change in air conditioner set points. The university was able to raise the set point by a remarkable six degrees. The result? An overall energy savings of 24% .