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- A new world for data centers: is your team ready?
By: David Eisenband, Partner, EYP MCF, Part of Ramboll It’s 2022, and we in the data centers industry are feeling the impacts of the most taxing moment in our short history. A new landscape has arisen, bringing with it challenges fundamentally different than what we faced with Y2K, the dot.com bubble, and even the 2008 subprime financial crisis. We’re in the midst of a perfect storm – and we must right the ship to weather it. Solutions for increased data usage With the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, many businesses found themselves shifting immediately from primarily in-person office operations to mandating that the majority of eligible employees work remotely from their homes. Thus the data centers arena – for industry leaders, personnel, and clients – has been impacted dramatically. Moving from collaborating with a team in a shared space – with shared, substantive technical resources – to working alone, remotely, with no on-site support has changed the way that projects are managed. We now coordinate over distances, creating virtual command centers and relying on innovative technology to ensure seamless business continuity. This has led to unprecedented stress on personnel, as well as on the data centers industry as a whole as we evolve to meet the ever-increasing demands on data usage. Talent, budget, and managing expectations around supply chain issues are paramount considerations to run a data center properly and meet the client's needs. Learn more about Ramboll’s services to data centers and mission critical facilities. Talent to meet the demand Factors related to the additional stress employees have experienced under the cloud of COVID-19 have also led to a phenomenon known as The Great Resignation. Particularly in the US, Europe, and China, remarkably high numbers of employees at all levels are resigning from their posts, citing stress, wages, and illness concerns as their primary reasons. Financial and sociological experts predict it will take years to recalibrate and adjust to our collective, newfound approach to work. In alignment with Ramboll’s mission and values, prioritizing people above all else, we encourage employees to strike the balance that best enables them to thrive. Leading by example, we hope to inspire clients to do the same. Through these ever-shifting circumstances, data centers and mission critical facilities must keep pushing forward. Should clients find themselves with a hard-to-fill vacancy, we can step in and provide consulting services to bridge the gap. This relieves the burden from project managers when hiring and training may prove challenging, allowing them to focus instead on timely and cost-effective delivery. Contact us With expert services for all project stages throughout Buildings, Energy, and Environment & Health, Ramboll offers a full suite of sustainable solutions to data centers and mission critical facilities. Contact us to learn more. About Author David Eisenband is a proven leader in Business Development. David’s experience in the Critical Facilities environment began eleven years ago when he joined the EYP Mission Critical Facilities team. He worked with top-tier financial institutions, pharmaceuticals, technology industries, and top colleges and research universities. He helped attract new business including the first Data Center Co-Location within a world-renowned stock exchange. David also maintained relationships with the top real estate firms, architects, construction managers, and OEM organizations. David built and led the Critical Facilities Service Line in Latin America for a Fortune 50 worldwide technology leader. He conducted business with “C” Level individuals and participated in steering committees related to large projects. David's experience includes Data Center projects that received “Uptime” tiered 3 & 4 certifications in the region. David joined the Worldwide Technology Services Consulting team for this fortune 50 organization. He ultimately served as a Global Program Manager where he directed the Intellectual Property Program. This program included global strategies to bring emerging technologies to the market, resulting in business initiatives with multi-million dollar revenues. David's experience includes managing an Energy Savings Performance and HVAC Contractor. He participated in negotiations with the Port of Miami, The Miami International Airport (MIA, and Florida’s Main Utility Company, The Florida Power & Light (FPL). David has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the Florida International University, Chapman Graduate School of Business. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Data Centers - Strategizing for Flexible Air Quality Permits
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…air quality permits were simply a few pages allowing construction and operation of data centers. By: Ali Farnoud, Principal at Ramboll With the exponential increase in the number of data centers across the United States and the quantity of emergency generators employed, air quality permits have grown increasingly complex, resulting in conditions that could impact operational flexibility. However, data centers may utilize various tools to allow more flexibility in their air permits. For example, a limit of 4,000 hours per year may obstruct a data center operator’s ability to run the engines during an emergency for a facility that operates 120 engines, whereas the same facility may not feel as stifled with a limit of 700,000 gallons of fuel consumption per year, which meets the exact same regulatory purpose. In a world of convoluted air quality permits, data centers should strategize the approach to air permitting early in the design process to ensure that they will not be blindsided by impractical air permit conditions. Multiple factors impact a facility’s air quality permit strategy, including: - Attainment status: The attainment status of an area describes the area’s proximity to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for a certain pollutant. Multiple areas in the United States are considered “nonattainment” with respect to ozone and particulate matter, resulting in strict regulations for emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOX) and volatile organic compounds, ozone precursors, and particulate matter (PM). As NOX and PM are also the two main pollutants generated by diesel combustion, nonattainment areas could result in lower allowable emissions for data centers before stringent permit requirements apply. For example, an area in attainment for ozone typically has allowable emissions of up to the Title V major source threshold of 100 tons per year of NOX before the need to study emission controls while an area in severe nonattainment means that NOX emissions of 25 tons per year could trigger such requirements. The ability to later modify the data center is also severely limited in nonattainment areas. For projects exceeding the major source threshold and certain modification threshold, the facility is required to purchase Emission Reduction Credits (ERCs), which are expensive and, in some locations, unavailable. - Runtime Hours: Most data centers prefer to stay below the Title V and/or Nonattainment New Source Review (NNSR) major source threshold(s) to avoid stricter regulations. In other words, in an area with a major source threshold of 100 tons per year, the requested regulatory limit would be, at most, 99.9 tons per year. The main question then, is the number of hours the emergency generators can operate before bumping against this limit. If, for instance, the limit is 50 tons per year of NOX in a serious nonattainment area and each generator emits up to 50 pounds per hour of NOX, there will be 2,000 hours of runtime available for the entire facility. This may be enough runtime for a data center with 40 generators, but certainly not enough if 100 generators are involved. In most cases, a fuel limit would allow additional flexibility. If the permit includes an hour limit, any operations of the generators will count towards the hour. However, if the permit includes a fuel limit instead, typical maintenance and testing operations that combust a small amount of fuel will not have a significant impact on the facility’s ability to operate. Calculating the emissions directly using the load percentages, guaranteed emission rates at each load, and hours of operation at each load is another flexible methodology if such data could be easily obtained, but this approach requires a conversation with the permitting agency. Regardless of the approach, by planning the air permitting process with a target amount of emergency runtime hours needed after the planned maintenance and testing hours are excluded, we are able to provide immense clarity to the entire air permitting process and need for emission controls. Should emission controls such as selective catalytic reduction (SCR) be necessary to achieve the desired emergency runtime hours, this decision can be made in advance to avoid long permitting times, significant changes in engineering design, and unexpected increases to project capital budgets. - Emergency vs. Non-emergency Operations: While the operation of emergency generators is primarily limited to maintenance, testing, and emergency, federal regulations recognize that the engines can be used for certain non-emergency operations outside of peak shaving and generating income for the facility and grant an annual 50-hour allowance for such purposes. The definition of emergency generators in some states differ from the federal definition and, therefore, some states do not allow for such non-emergency operations. The regulatory nuances should be reviewed prior to obtaining an air permit. If certain operations are essential to the facility, alternative permitting options can be considered. - Expansion Plans: The full build for a data center is rarely permitted at the outset. Data centers usually permit individual expansions as new customers approach them or as certain design milestones at the company solidify. There should be multiple considerations that are made prior to such phased permitting approach. First, it usually benefits the data center to consider the possibility of any future expansion plans from the beginning. The facility may be able to live with a limit of 50 tons per year of NOX with the first two phases but not after additional phases are implemented. If the facility decides to stay below the regulatory threshold, the potential for additional control equipment and retrofitting should be reviewed to ensure that the design will allow for such retrofits in the future. Secondly, there are certain regulations related to project aggregation that could apply to the facility which could prevent a phased permitting approach. Each phase should conduct a project aggregation analysis to ensure compliance with the regulations. - State Regulatory Requirements: Various states have implemented permitting policies either covering all industries or specific to data centers. Such regulations should be reviewed before obtaining an air permit. For instance, some states require air dispersion modeling, which could mean significant limitations on facility operations or require emission control installation. Other states require a Best Available Control Technology analysis regardless of the major source threshold. These situations could result in significant limitations for the facility. Pre-planning as well as a pre-application meeting with the state could inform data centers about any potential state policies. Each of the items noted above comes with significant caveats. For example, a state could require air dispersion modeling only if the facility exceeds a certain threshold separate from the major source threshold. However, the alphabet of an initial permit strategy remains the same, and given the difference among state regulation and policies, it always starts with the location. In his fantasy novel, The Hobbit, J.R.R Tolkien says, “It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near one.” That is particularly true if the live dragon could significantly impact construction schedule or the capital expenditure. About Author: Ali Farnoud is a Principal with Ramboll focusing on air quality permitting and regulatory compliance. His consulting experience spans over 15 years and various industries, but given his familiarity with the engine regulations, he serves as Ramboll’s global air quality subject matter expert for data centers. Ali holds a doctoral degree in Environmental Engineering with a research focus on controlling diesel particulate matter. He has taught various air quality courses, including over 40 workshops discussing state regulations. email@example.com
- Water Conservation in Data Centers
Data center cooling system designs of the past have used a great deal of water to achieve a low Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) while at the same time fitting the client’s capital expense (CAPEX) and operating cost (OPEX) business goals. By: Scott Wilson, PE Partner at EYP Mission Critical Facilities Today, there is mounting pressure to reduce water consumption as well. We are starting to hear corporations pledging to be “water positive” which means restoring more water than what they use. In most climates (except for the most humid or most cold environments), the benefits of cooling using the evaporation of water is well established and beneficial from an energy consumption standpoint in all but the most humid or most cold environments. Unfortunately, what is also often true is that water can be expensive or have limited/ inconsistent availability in dry climates. There are a number of options available. A business model approach yields a clear path to the best option. Here are a few: A simple solution is to build the data center in a more favorable climate. A data center designed with a refrigerant-based cooling system augmented with evaporative cooling for Sterling, VA will use less cooling-related energy if built near Chicago, IL, and also use less water. From a business perspective based on location or latency, a favorable CAPEX and OPEX cooling climate may be quickly ruled out. Another option is to use refrigerant-based cooling systems that do not consume water like air-cooled chillers. All things being equal, these systems will consume more energy than those that leverage evaporative cooling but may have a lower CAPEX. From a business perspective, the CAPEX vs. OPEX may be acceptable, possibly making it a preferred choice. One of the fundamentals to understanding cooling energy consumption in data centers is the entering temperature of the heat transfer media (i.e., air or liquid) cooling the IT. The other is how the media is delivered to the IT (e.g., air handling units, cooling distribution units) and heat is rejected to the environment. Designers of water-cooled IT and immersion cooling systems have for many years recognized that given their system's ability to remove heat from the chips more efficiently than air-cooled IT, they can raise the coolant temperature high enough that in some climates no mechanical refrigeration is required. If the business goal is to eliminate water use, converting a data center to a liquid IT environment should reduce evaporative cooling needs. These days it is not practical for most owners to convert to all liquid-cooled IT overnight. However, if the piping systems and associated cooling and heat rejection equipment are divided into separate systems, a strategy can be developed for long-term migration to liquid-cooled IT which will reduce the consumption of both water and cooling energy. In conclusion, the balance of IT spending and the facility CAPEX and OPEX will drive the decision for any owner, but liquid-cooled IT offers a substantial opportunity to reduce a data center cooling system’s water and energy consumption. We should expect to see a steady growth in the use of liquid-cooled IT as we see more pressure to conserve water. About Author: Scott Wilson is EYP MCF, Part of Ramboll CEO and leads the mechanical department on Government Projects. Scott’s experience started in 1978 in mechanical systems design for institutional, government, commercial and industrial buildings, Scott Wilson is a Partner, and senior hands-on engineer for EYP MCF, Part of Ramboll. Scott’s project experience includes data center projects in the health care, higher education, science research, colocation and Hyperscale industry. Scott’s tenure with EYP MCF, Part of Ramboll started in 2005, follows his long tenure with EYP Architecture and Engineering. Much of Team EYP MCF, Part of Ramboll’s continued collaborative data center work is often coordinated and performed under Scott’s leadership. Scott’s project experience includes work across the United States and for the US State Department in more than 20 countries worldwide firstname.lastname@example.org
- We are very pleased to issue our spring newsletter!
In late January, we announced that EYPMCF would be joining Ramboll. We couldn’t be more excited about this next chapter and joining this leading global engineering consultancy. Joining Ramboll has given us the global platform needed to service our clients around the world as they grow and expand. It also gives us a much broader portfolio of capabilities to offer our clients, including ESG consulting and due diligence to support data center acquisitions. We look forward to continuing to expand our reach across the world as part of this terrific platform. We are also extremely impressed by the culture, focus on employees, and dedication to sustainability that Ramboll has, which is so important to our client base and the data center community in general. Please don’t hesitate to ask us for information or a live discussion on all of our combined capabilities in this space. At the same time, it is business as usual at EYPMCF as we continue to drive thought leadership in the space and develop new innovative approaches to design and assurance in data centers. In this issue of the newsletter, we have included a new white paper on embodied carbon, and blog pieces on water conservation, air quality permits, and Blockchain data centers specifications. There are also new case studies about new client work around the globe. In addition, we are thrilled to announce that our own Steve Shapiro, PE will be speaking at the upcoming 7x24 event in June. Lastly, we hope to see all of you at the industry events we are sponsoring this month – DCD in NYC, and Data Cloud in Monaco. Best – Rick and Brian Download the latest white papers ■ Towards more sustainable data center design using a CHP case study ■ Demand response opportunities for data center embedded generation and energy storage systems ■ Reaching for Net-Zero: Achieving Zero Carbon Data Centers by Decentralizing Consensus of Power Supply Amongst Utility and Microgrid Providers ■ The Case for Natural Gas Generators ■ West 7 Center: Using a Data Center Water Side Economizer on an existing facility to reduce water and energy usage ■ Infrastructure Sustainability Options and Revenue Opportunities for Data Centers
- Blockchain data center, much more forgiving than a standard data center
What does that mean? That depends on whether we are mining cryptocurrency or performing blockchain calculations for other purposes, the process can be stopped and started at will, without losing any data, and theoretically, any money. By: Steve Shapiro, PE Partner at EYP Mission Critical Facilities Blockchain technology or distributed ledger technology can be used for tracking data points, recording transactions (mining) or any other process that requires maintaining databases. It is a decentralized process and can be done anywhere and everywhere, all at the same time. Because it is a distributed process, infrastructure reliability is not as big a concern for blockchain as it is for standard data processing. If we are processing in one location and power is lost, when power is restored the processing begins again. Granted, while the blockchain is not being mined no profit is made. The cost of infrastructure and power consumption play an important part in the profitability of the mining process. When blockchain is used for enterprise applications, such as a hospital or a bank, the processing cost is not the issue, and the reliability of continued processing becomes more important. For standard data center data processing the loss of power can be catastrophic. Data loss, equipment damage, and potentially waiting hours before an application can be brought back online and all users restored access can cause significant loss of revenue to a customer. Processing cryptocurrency is a process that relies on low-cost infrastructure and inexpensive power. Mining takes several things into account when it comes to the overall profitability of the process. Minimal physical infrastructure, little to no mechanical cooling and simple power infrastructure are the keys to profitability, along with cheap power. The cheaper the power the more money can be made through the mining process. Crypto mining facilities can vary from a containerized solution, brownfield or greenfield purpose-built facility, to an abandoned supermarket with large windows front and back. Key to the operation is unimpeded airflow. The most energy efficient system is one that uses no cooling beyond the fans provided with the mining equipment. Due to the low static pressure capabilities of these fans, massive amounts of unimpeded air are required to cool large facilities. Large louvers with large open areas that limit rain and snow carryover are required. Sometimes booster fans are used to make sure the air moves in and out of larger facilities. Miners are “installed” on large shelving units like a baker’s rack or racks seen in big box stores. These shelving units are sealed on one side with any assortment of materials to isolate the hot from the cold and make the installation more efficient by avoiding hot/cold air mixing. Hundreds of units are located in pods or hot/cold aisle rows to maximize the cooling and minimize the electrical infrastructure. More and more prefabricated and specialized assemblies are being developed by hot aisle containment vendors specifically for these applications. Each miner can require two power cords and 3-5kW of power. That 3-5kW of power goes almost directly to heat that must be removed from the facility and replaced with cold air. These facilities are run very hot and are best installed in cold environments to take advantages of the climate. 100 miners can run up to 500kW+ of load in a small footprint. Getting power and IT connections to these loads requires custom distribution. We can take some cues from traditional data center design and provide local PDUs, custom multioutlet assemblies (plug strips) and top of the shelf switching to get all power and communications to the miners. Newer installations are looking to provide remote power monitoring and remotely switchable circuit breakers to allow for resetting of a miner circuit. No UPS or generator power is provided for the blockchain processing. A small UPS and generator are typically provided for the communications network as that is the only truly critical part of the infrastructure. Below you can find photos of some of the good and some of the ugly of the mining world. As much power as they use, mining companies are always looking for green power to offset the costs and the poor image of crypto mining. More on that in future posts. About Author: Steve leads the electrical department at EYP MCF, Part of Ramboll and has been the lead electrical design engineer and project manager for many multi-million-dollar data center projects. Steve Shapiro has been in the mission-critical industry for over 30 years and has a diverse background in the study, reporting, design, commissioning, development, and management of reliable electrical distribution, emergency power, lighting, and fire protection systems for high tech environments. His experience also includes providing analysis of critical application support facilities. Steve has extensive experience in the design and management of corporate and mission-critical facilities projects with over 4 million square feet of raised floor experience, over 200 MW of UPS experience, and over 400 MW of generator experience. He is the author of numerous technical articles and seminars and speaks at many industry technical conferences. email@example.com
- Ramboll Acquires EYP Mission Critical Facilities
We are excited to announce that as of this morning EYP Mission Critical Facilities, Inc. is now a part of Ramboll Valhalla, N.Y. January 31, 2022 Ramboll is a sustainable engineering, architecture, and consultancy company founded in Denmark in 1945. They are a market leader in sustainable buildings and alternative energy, and for more than a decade have provided expert environmental, water, energy, and occupational health services to clients across the lifecycle of data centers and mission-critical facilities. Today Ramboll’s 16,000 employees operate from 300 offices in 35 countries, many in the fastest-growing regions for data center expansion – including a strong presence in the Americas. Ramboll’s global reach will enable us to grow geographically and address our clients’ strategic planning, engineering, and commissioning needs around the world. Additionally, joining with Ramboll broadens our portfolio, providing more varied services to our clients from site selection through energy efficiency consulting. The building type we focus on, the critical facility/data center, has never been under more pressure to be efficient and sustainable. Joining Ramboll enables us to offer clients the most advanced approaches to GHG reduction and sustainable design and operational approaches available today. Ramboll shares our commitment to excellence, innovation and sustainability, and offers the global reach that is particularly important to our colocation and hyperscale clients. We will continue to provide the same high-quality solutions as we tap into the vast resources of Ramboll. EYPMCF’s experts add deep domain knowledge of mission-critical facilities, which will strengthen Ramboll’s consultancy in integrated, innovative data center solutions. Together, we are positioned as a premier international data center consultancy. Our current leadership team and people will continue to deliver unmatched support and build upon our pioneering leadership in this industry as part of Ramboll. We are here to address any questions or concerns you may have related to this announcement. Without a doubt, there will be no changes to our working relationship. We look forward to utilizing our new platform as part of Ramboll to continue to work with you for many years to come. For more information, please click here. Best, Rick, Brian, and the EYPMCF Family
- Sustainability, where do we begin?
David Eisenband, Partner at EYP Mission Critical Facilities It has been a year since we launched our sustainability initiative, we have received plenty of interest from the data center industry. We have partnered with industry consultants and OEMs to try to reach for the best design and the most innovative technology. From carbon capture, renewable energy sources, generator-less facilities, fuel cells, immersion cooling, and even demand response using the data center as a fully island-able micro-grid. The main fact is that we all want to make a change for a better world protecting our environment. However, some misconceptions need to be addressed to understand where and how we want to invest in our future. Although sustainability is usually directly linked with energy consumption, that isn’t always the case. An inefficient data center with a high PUE can still be sustainable. Although this might not make sense it still can be sustainable. In terms of carbon impact, to begin, it is necessary to understand the source(s) of power. If 100% of the power comes from renewable sources like wind or solar you will still be able to have a Net-Zero or Near Net-Zero data center unless you are considering the embodied energy. If some (or most) of the energy consumption comes from non-renewable sources, you can still claim it’s a Net-Zero data center as long as you purchased the equivalent RECs (Renewable Energy Credits) to cover your data center greenhouse gas emissions. In countries like Brazil where more than 70% of the produced energy comes from renewable sources, it is much easier to reach the sustainability goals. In the US you could look for states where the main power source comes from water. Although in locations like this you could potentially reach Net-Zero, this will not solve the sustainability problem and it’s likely that it made affect it, due to the consumption of water. Water has been one of the best allies to significantly reduce energy consumption in data centers. For example, in dry weather environments like Arizona, evaporating water for cooling the data center is ideal, especially during the hot months. Although it does help to reach your net-zero goals, it is not sustainable because of the consumption of water. Arizona among other states, depends on the Colorado River. Unfortunately, the Colorado River which is a primary source of water for 40 million people in seven states in the U.S. and two states in Mexico, is facing historical droughts. This issue is affecting not only the data center market but the inhabitants and the municipalities that depend on this river. This could lead to an unprecedented conundrum, where municipalities and governments will be forced to prioritize how to distribute the water supply between hydroelectric power, residential consumption, irrigation, industrial usage, and data centers. Data center suppliers are evaluating options including a hybrid design in places like Arizona that can provide chilled water and air cooling in the same data center facility. While it might not be ideal, as a critical facility, data centers still need to rely on availability. In conclusion, if you are looking for sustainability, apart from reducing greenhouse gas emissions, water must be part of that same consideration. The first step, is to evaluate your goals by understanding the location, is it best to renovate an existing facility or build a new data center? What is the location? If it’s in a downtown urban area you do have limitations, and reaching net-zero or water positive will be highly difficult but you could still improve its energy efficiency and water usage. If you are considering building a greenfield data center or a data center campus, before looking to achieve a Net-Zero and/or water positive data center, it is important to understand the location, the available sources of power and water prior to even thinking about the design or implementing a new and/or innovative technology. About Author: David Eisenband is a proven leader in Business Development. David’s experience in the Critical Facilities environment began eleven years ago when he joined the EYP Mission Critical Facilities team. He worked with top-tier financial institutions, pharmaceuticals, technology industries, and top colleges and research universities. He helped attract new business including the first Data Center Co-Location within a world-renowned stock exchange. David also maintained relationships with the top real estate firms, architects, construction managers, and OEM organizations. David built and led the Critical Facilities Service Line in Latin America for a Fortune 50 worldwide technology leader. He conducted business with “C” Level individuals and participated in steering committees related to large projects. David's experience includes Data Center projects that received “Uptime” tiered 3 & 4 certifications in the region. David joined the Worldwide Technology Services Consulting team for this fortune 50 organization. He ultimately served as a Global Program Manager where he directed the Intellectual Property Program. This program included global strategies to bring emerging technologies to the market, resulting in business initiatives with multi-million dollar revenues. David's experience includes managing an Energy Savings Performance and HVAC Contractor. He participated in negotiations with the Port of Miami, The Miami International Airport (MIA, and Florida’s Main Utility Company, The Florida Power & Light (FPL). David has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the Florida International University, Chapman Graduate School of Business. firstname.lastname@example.org
- We are very pleased to issue our December Newsletter!
Dec. 15 Happy Holidays! While we sent out a company newsletter a little less than a month ago, we had such a broad amount of content to share around technical topics and new project work that we have decided to issue another before year-end. It also gives us a chance to reflect upon 2021 and review some of the highlights from the past year. In addition to increasing our headcount of the delivery staff, we grew our overall new bookings by 20+% and bookings in the commercial sector by nearly 60%! We also added 25 new clients this year across the government, enterprise, colocation, and hyperscale sectors, and did projects in 10 countries. Even with the challenging workload, our dedicated team found the time to speak on multiple webinars or presentations, develop double-digit technical papers, and spearhead an initiative around the reduction of GHG across the data center industry with our partners from i3 that we hope will have lasting effects on the industry. We also have provided services to support a number of very interesting and high-profile projects for our customers involving large-scale transactions in the datacenter operator space, and future state planning for the consolidation of major hospital/healthcare networks among others. Lastly, in addition to the typical work we provide for data center clients and studio clients, we have seen the growth of the bitcoin/blockchain transaction data center campus emerge as a diverse growth area for firms like ours. Please take a look at the rest of the newsletter below for new articles on Cogeneration, Datacenter reliability expectations from the customer standpoint, and other interesting topics, as well as a number of new project case studies we think you will find interesting. Have a great holiday season and Happy New year from all of us at EYPMCF! Please enjoy the newsletter, and let us know how we can help in any way. Rick and Brian. Click below to view our new sustainability webpage and to download the latest white papers: Sustainability Webpage Reaching for Net-Zero: Achieving Zero Carbon Data Centers by Decentralizing Consensus of Power Supply Amongst Utility and Microgrid Providers The Case for Natural Gas Generators West 7 Center: Using a Data Center Water Side Economizer on an existing facility to reduce water and energy usage Infrastructure Sustainability Options and Revenue Opportunities for Data Centers
- Could Altered Data Center Availability Expectations Dramatically Improve Future Designs?
Denis Weber Senior Data Center Consultant at EYP Mission Critical Facilities Leaders designing, building, and operating Data Centers around the globe continue to focus on reducing and ultimately eliminating environmental impacts from operations. This is obviously serious business, and is a problem that doesn’t have a singular approach, nor does the industry completely agree on the ultimate best approach(es). This isn’t to say the industry is stymied as it strives to deliver environmentally sound solutions, but it does suggest we have a long way to go to achieve the numerous and lofty goals. During recent gatherings of those leaders, each of whom is determined to improve the environmental impact of Data Centers, some fascinating and even unconventional approaches were introduced. Topics focused on Sustainable Power Generation, the future of Diesel Generators, and Water Usage, and it is clear the focus is to ensure the Data Center industry stays clear of aggressive government regulations, environmental groups, and the ire of the general public – by making every move which improves the future. The industry has been widely successful in curbing these criticisms in the past due to the actions it has taken over the past 15+ years to: Admit its shortcomings. Make sweeping and substantive changes to its consumption model. It is not without its flaws, but industry leaders have been dedicated to this cause, and are consistently taking further steps in its evolution. Some leaders are introducing plans to eliminate Diesel Generators across their future Data Center footprint. Not long ago, this would be viewed as a foolish move but is now applauded as innovative and aggressive. In today’s world, we need to continue to push thoughts beyond conventional thinking. Would a slight increase in battery ride time accommodate most, if not all, power disruptions? Many large Data Centers across the US have been running for many years without requiring their Generators during an unplanned outage. As large-scale energy storage continues to advance, many are looking to add to their battery inventory and considering solar as the energy source – an entirely reasonable approach. The Data Center industry is correctly focused inwardly on providing the expected service to the customer while eliminating negative impacts to the environment. The dialogue needs to broaden to include whether the customer expectation of 100% Data Center availability is legitimate or necessary. Some who considered not including Generators in past designs were forced to reinclude them based on the ‘perceived’ customer requirements. We need to consider opening the debate of balancing today’s availability expectations with the environmental improvement expectations. Global Data Center leadership needs to remain energized to continue unveiling new techniques, technologies, and thought leadership to eliminate negative environmental impacts. At the same time, society may need to challenge its previous beliefs regarding availability expectations. This global problem requires an all-in response, across all sectors, including all parties. About Author: Denis Weber is a Senior Data Center Consultant at EYP Mission Critical Facilities. Denis is a highly respected, executive leader with extensive expertise designing and managing highly available and environmentally sustainable Data Centers. He has a successful career optimizing the capabilities of existing facilities as well as designing and delivering many green- and brownfield Critical Facilities globally. Denis has managed the global Data Center portfolio for The Walt Disney Co. and Verizon over the past 20+ years. Strict design principles, operating standards, and extensive personnel training are combined to ensure uninterrupted availability along with personnel safety while improving energy efficiency profiles of every Facility. Denis has an extensive history managing Data Center operations including power and cooling services, physical security, infrastructure maintenance and repair, space planning, equipment installations/ cabling, and business continuity/disaster recovery.
- We are very pleased to issue our November Newsletter!
Happy Thanksgiving all! Hard to believe we are less than two months away from 2022. Seems as if the majority of the challenges of Covid -19 have moved behind us, but obviously there will be lingering effects on our economy through the supply chain and resource/labor issues for years to come. Thankfully, our firm has made it through this period even stronger than ever, and while we’d like to think it was due to many smart decisions we made over the past 18 months, there is no doubt that a key part of our ability to sustain and grow has been due to being in an industry that has helped to resolve or lessen many of the challenges that the pandemic brought on. And we are 100% convinced that many of the changes – especially around the way we work and consume (enabled in a large part by the mission-critical facility) will be here to stay. That certainly bodes well for the future of this company and our industry. In the meantime, in addition to continuing to deliver for our great clients and adding new ones, in our “spare” time we are working hard to innovate and move the industry forward through our research and thought leadership efforts, in particular around the release of white papers focused on Sustainability with our terrific partners at i3 Solutions Group. You will see below links to our latest papers and video interviews on this critical subject. And as usual, you will see project descriptions for some of the recent projects we are delivering for government, enterprise, hyper-scale, colocation, and increasingly Bitcoin Mining and Blockchain clients. Lastly, the 2021 Commissioning Giants, and the 2021 Top Engineering firms, were announced this past month and our firm, EYPMCF is proud that our firm has increased our position year over year in both categories (info below). This could not have been done without the amazing support of our clients, partners, and of course our talented staff! Have a Happy Thanksgiving and look forward to connecting again! Please enjoy the newsletter, and let us know how we can help in any way. Rick and Brian. Click below to view our new sustainability webpage and to download the latest white papers: Sustainability Webpage Reaching for Net-Zero: Achieving Zero Carbon Data Centers by Decentralizing Consensus of Power Supply Amongst Utility and Microgrid Providers The Case for Natural Gas Generators West 7 Center: Using a Data Center Water Side Economizer on an existing facility to reduce water and energy usage Infrastructure Sustainability Options and Revenue Opportunities for Data Centers https://conta.cc/3oAYMwF
- How electricity price volatility and the race to grid sustainability is accelerating demand response
Kerr Johnstone CEng, MIET Director at i3 Solutions Group A global energy price rise that risks making critical industries unviable is probably most people’s definition of a crisis. Those running energy-intensive operations such as data centers are only too aware that they don’t dictate energy prices. But it is worth asking if this hopefully short-term crisis, combined with long-term sustainability challenges, might be the catalyst for the industry to begin to take demand response (DR) opportunities more seriously. To date, much of the data center sector has declared itself unready to consider demand response– otherwise called demand-side response (DSR). There has often been a refusal to engage because prevailing attitudes are that it is too much trouble. Perhaps attitudes may change now that individuals and associations representing a wide range of energy-intensive industries such as glass and steelmaking are on TV news programs warning governments that high energy costs could bankrupt them. It is clear that even without energy price volatility there exists a strong case for using data center onsite generation and battery storage to create a symbiotic relationship between data centers and utilities. One where both groups benefit by reducing their carbon footprints and gain mutual operational and financial rewards. Turn and face the change… Almost everything in global utility energy supply is changing. The fuel mix, load curtailment, frequency response, BESS, VRE, all are being adopted amid rapid phasing out of dependence on fossil fuels. But the challenge is that as the energy market transitions by transforming its infrastructure, the electricity grid must maintain a nominal voltage and frequency within specific limits. The challenge for utilities is that supply and demand are always balanced irrespective of variations in load conditions, generation status, and distribution system faults. To achieve balance, utilities are becoming dependent on third-party embedded generation and energy storage companies as consumer demand and grid capacity fluctuate. An equilibrium is essential to ensure consumer voltage and frequency stays within mandatory operating parameters. Hence demand response – DR - means opportunities for sites with embedded generation and storage capacity. What even is DR or DSR? As stated in the latest whitepaper from the EYP MCF & i3 Solutions Group Abatement Group, DR is: “The adjustment in demand relative to grid generating capacity., designed to address supply and demand imbalance, high wholesale electricity prices and assist with grid reliability.” The paper provides detailed definitions of emerging DR services categories including Load Curtailment; Load Shifting; Short Term Operating Reserve (STOR) and Load Reduction; Frequency Response; Energy Arbitrage; and Time-Variant Pricing. Why should data centers bother with DR? For data centers, DR is a complex undertaking. Suitability will be dictated by parameters that range from geography to grid maturity and existing energy mixes. For example, much of the embedded power generation capacity in data centers is diesel generator-based. From an emissions perspective, the willingness of grid operators to use this generating capacity will vary as different territories have different definitions of relative fuel cleanliness. This is in turn based upon their access to and historic and current reliance on different fossil fuels. Wind, Solar and tidal are cleanest, gas is cleaner than coal, etc. In GHG abatement terms for island operating of generators, the impact on GHG depends on the prevailing grid emission factor (GEF) at the time. If for example, we assume a 50MW facility in China has natural gas generators as its emergency power source. The gas generator emission factor is approximately 486 g CO2e/kWh, compared to the national average combined margin grid emission factor of 852 g CO2e/kWh. For the purposes of this example, we will assume 852 g CO2e/kWh is the prevailing GEF when the generators are operating. With the standby generators running in island mode for 10 hours, this results in 18,300kg CO2e saving. There is also marginal emissions reduction to consider. Marginal emissions occur when the utility brings a different type of generating plant on the grid such as wind or photovoltaics. What happens when demand outstrips capacity even by 1MW and the only current alternative is to start up a coal-fired power station? In the industry, we all know that there exists much over-provisioned power capacity, storage, and distribution infrastructure within the world’s existing data centers. There is more to come as new data center capacity comes online. Crisis, what crisis? Demand response is an evolving market that will attract new participants. Data centers represent a significant and increasing load on the grid. Given the sustainability imperatives and the obvious desire to improve margins, especially margins that are negatively impacted by rising energy costs, it seems logical that the data center industry will increasingly participate in DR programs. The reality is that when grid operators wake up to the data center industry’s existing power capacity that could be integrated for feeding power into the system, it could change everything. But that can only happen if the data center industry itself is also open to the opportunity. For a deeper dive into the points raised, download a copy of Demand Response Opportunities for Data Center Embedded Generation and Energy Storage Systems. This is the fourth Whitepaper from EYP MCF & i3 Solutions Group GHG Abatement Group addressing changing power provision and use in the 21st Century in the time of climate crisis.
- A roadmap towards Net-Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030
We are very pleased to issue our July Newsletter! Can’t believe we are already into the second half of 2021! Time is flying as we emerge from the global pandemic. The previous 14 months or so have been an incredibly challenging time for all of us, our clients and partners, and all of our families, and we all look forward to better days in the future. If there was still any question that our industry is critical to the function of everyday life, and economic growth and progress in this country, let alone the world, that has been put to rest. The importance of the mission-critical facility/datacenter to consumers, students, commercial businesses, governments, and organizations/institutions became clearer than ever as we all had to make adjustments to the way we work, learn, interact, share information and entertain. Without this building type that we all focus on, managing our everyday lives would have been completely different and perhaps had even further devastating effects on the world around us. And while this was no doubt a quickly growing industry even before Covid-19, we believe its growth will be even stronger because of it. We personally want to thank our fantastic team here at EYP MCF for the amazing work they have done to help keep our client's growth plans intact and maintain their operations against the many logistics, scheduling, health, and travel challenges faced. We also want to thank our clients for the continued faith they have shown in our firm during this time and the many opportunities you have given us to partner. With this immense growth, our clients are even more focused on sustainability, energy efficiency, and GHG effect on data centers. As some of you have seen, EYP MCF has partnered with i3 Solutions to develop a series of white papers around exactly this topic and have released the first 2 papers already (the 3rd is coming soon!). As a consultant devoted to this building type, we believe it is part of our mandate to research and innovate around this critical area. Additionally, we are working with some of our clients to study and implement changes based on this initiative. You will see links to the program below and can download the papers there or on our new sustainability webpage, where you will find additional information with some interesting project case studies, articles, podcasts, and webinars that we have recently been involved in. Lastly, we continue to see lots of consolidation in the industry, as well as properties changing hands and newer players investing in the space. Please let us know if we can help with any due diligence work as our cross-country reach and global partners allow us to quickly review and assess facilities in the US and abroad for our customers who are involved in transactions. Have a great summer and look forward to connecting again later in the year! Please enjoy the newsletter, and let us know how we can help in any way. Rick and Brian. Click below to view our new sustainability webpage and to download the latest white papers: Sustainability Webpage Reaching for Net-Zero: Achieving Zero Carbon Data Centers by Decentralizing Consensus of Power Supply Amongst Utility and Microgrid Providers The Case for Natural Gas Generators West 7 Center: Using a Data Center Water Side Economizer on an existing facility to reduce water and energy usage Infrastructure Sustainability Options and Revenue Opportunities for Data Centers