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Collaboration wins prize

The collaboration between ebm-papst, Emerson Network Power and Norland Managed Services to cool three major bank data centres brought outstanding energy savings…and a Cooling Award

Leading fan and motor manufacturer ebm-papst, collaborated with Emerson Network Power and Norland Managed Services to review the energy efficiency at three of the bank’s London-based data centres.

ebm-papst undertook an initial site survey to review the types of units being used and the potential solutions that were needed, along with an estimation of the payback period for any new kit. 

Upgrade to fans

The cooling units that were in place at the project’s start used chilled water, with an optional switch to lower performance, and utilised AC fan technology. In order to improve efficiency, ebm-papst recommended upgrading the equipment with EC fan technology.

Based on the survey results, a trial was then agreed on a single 10UC and 14UC CRAC (computer room air conditioning) unit to establish actual performance and energy savings.  Data was logged before the upgrade and again after the trial units were converted to EC.

The trial revealed that less power was absorbed by the EC fan motors than that absorbed by their AC predecessors and the bank agreed to proceed with the conversion of all units – 191 fans in total within 76 CRAC units. Three different unit models were installed: 39x14UC units; 21x10UC units and 16xCCD900CW units.

Emerson Network Power then worked with Norland Managed Services who project managed the upgrade. All fans were replaced with ebm-papst’s EC direct drive centrifugal fans, including the installation of EC fans within a floor void that required modification.

The project restrictions were extensive given the live data environment and the fact that upgrade teams were only allowed access to three halls, with only one unit switched off at any one time. But the upgrade was delivered to time and on budget, ebm-papst said.

Energy payback

But it is the energy payback that is the most significant result. Annual projected energy savings are expected to be between £240,000 and £270,000 thanks to an expected average 48 per cent energy saving across all units, with a payback period of under two years. 

The annual CO2e reduction is expected to be 1,322 tonnes. In addition, a new control strategy controlling the EC fans on supply air temperature has wrought a further energy usage reduction of 14 per cent.

The London data centres will also benefit from reduced noise levels, increased cooling capacity and extended fan and unit life, the partners say.

Norland Managed Services energy manager Ian Shaw reports: “In onsite discussions, the client commented that not only were the energy savings exactly as predicted, there was also no need to perform any significant analysis as the monthly energy reports from the site leapt off the page as being considerably lower.”

ebm-papst UK product manager James Cooper adds: “The National Bank case study is an excellent example of how upgrading from AC to EC technology can impact on energy savings, carbon and CO2 reduction.”

The partners were rewarded for their work with Commercial/Industrial project of the Year at the  2012 Cooling Industry Awards.

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