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Princeton Automates its Data Center’s HVAC

Linda Hardesty

Automated Logic Corporation is providing building monitoring and control for the new high-performance computing research center at Princeton University.

The centralized computing facility features sophisticated heating, ventilation and air conditioning technology monitored and controlled by Automated Logic’s WebCTRL system. Three chillers maintain water temperature at approximately 45 degrees Fahrenheit to air-cool the computers, which generate excessive heat. The system can switch to outside air during colder months. A natural gas-driven generator, switched on when electricity prices spike, features a co-generation function that captures expelled heat as a source of energy to chill water.

The WebCTRL system provides multiple levels of redundant (N+1) control, backed by trend reporting capabilities.

The computing research facility is one of only nine high-performance data centers in the world to achieve US Green Building Council LEED Gold certification, which it received in 2012. The center is currently consuming one-third less energy than the former data center on campus. That level of performance is aligned with Princeton’s sustainability plan to reduce energy demand and conserve water.

Located on Princeton’s Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro, NJ, the 47,000-sq-ft facility is home to Princeton’s Terascale Infrastructure for Groundbreaking Research in Science and Engineering, also known as TIGRESS. The facility contains nearly 1,800 computers that support major research initiatives, administrative systems and departmental functions.



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