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Case studies

Eaton-Williams cooling solution helps Colt's flagship modular data centre boost its energy savings

Eaton-Williams designs a cooling that minimises energy usage offers built in redundancy to help Colt’s flagship modular data centre achieve a PUE of 1.21

The London 3 modular data centre is a cutting edge tier 3 managed services site. The data centre has been designed as modules of 500m² which can be constructed in less than four months offering customers a highly power-efficient turnkey solution.

As a result of the unique construction techniques used to build the modular data centre, customers have the added flexibility of being able to choose where they house it – whether in a Colt location or alternate customer site of choice, anywhere in Europe.

There is also the added ability to build large-scale data centres in 500m² increments to the size and layout of choice. This enables customers to expand the site as their needs grow by simply adding further modules.

Colt’s overriding demand was for optimum energy efficiency without compromising operational resilience. Eaton-Williams designed a system, known as the CTF, which relies primarily on outside air to provide the cooling. Although fitted with conventional refrigeration for those occasions when the outside temperature is above acceptable levels, the CTF makes maximum use of the free cooling from the outside air and by doing s contributes to the impressive overall data centre PUE of 1.21.

Guy Ruddock, Vice President, Operations for Colt Data Centre Services, comments: “Cooling is an essential ingredient in our modular data centre solution. After having worked with Eaton-Williams for many years, we are excited they are part of our modular development. Their ability to meet our demanding performance specifications and their highly efficient and reliable cooling solutions means that we have the ideal partner to deliver and develop modular solutions to our customers”.

“Eaton-Williams engineered a high quality, flexible and innovative solution specifically designed to meet Colt’s demanding performance specification.”

“With power costs a major concern for data centres, optimising energy efficiencies was a key objective and addresses Colt’s environmental concerns,” adds Jeff Muir, Engineering Manager for Eaton-Williams.

Each 500m² modular data centre has 12 high efficiency CTF cooling units arrayed across the end of the module and outside the white space. Each unit has multiple variable speed Electronically Commutated (EC) fans and compressors, to minimise energy use and provide N+1resilience and is designed to maintain the data centre at 21ºc ± 3ºc and humidity between 20 and 80% RH.

The whole conditioning system is based on control algorithms designed to manage the CTF year round 24/7, to deliver supply air at 18 – 24ºC and 20 – 80% RH conditions irrespective of data hall load and outside temperature. The unit controller is integrated to the facility’s Building Management System (BMS) to seamlessly switch between operating modes to ensure the most energy efficient delivery of cooling to precisely match the data centre requirements.

Whenever ambient temperatures permit the unit provides fresh air cooling. From 100% fresh air at 24ºC, as the ambient temperature drops it automatically mixes warm return air with cold ambient fresh air to maintain the desired supply air temperature.

If ambient humidity levels are out of the levels permitted in the data centre the unit automatically switches to indirect glycol cooling utilising the integral run-around-coil heat exchangers within the CTF80. Only in high ambient conditions will the unit operate in mechanical cooling refrigeration mode but again power usage is minimised as the variable speed compressors can precisely match cooling load to that required within the data centre.

Across all cooling modes EC speed controllable fans and floor pressure monitoring match the volume of supply air to the room loading and layout to minimise energy consumption.