Proposed Energy Standard for Data Centers, Telecommunications Buildings Open for Comment

February 23, 2015 By Karen Henry

ashrae Energy ManageASHRAE is seeking comments on its proposed Standard 90.4P, Energy Standard for Data Centers and Telecommunications Buildings. The standard would establish the minimum energy efficiency requirements of data centers and telecommunications buildings for design and construction and for creation of a plan for operation and maintenance, and for utilization of on-site or off-site renewable energy resources.

The proposed standard is intended to work in concert with ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings. If adopted, design and construction of data centers will require the use of both Standards 90.1 and 90.4P for compliance with building codes.

Data center applications are unlike their commercial building counterparts in two significant ways. They include significantly higher plug loads, and they employ rapidly changing technology for the IT equipment and associated power/cooling approaches. The intent of Standard 90.4P is to create a performance-based approach that would be more flexible as technology changes.

By using an approach that requires compliance to a ”system” level of performance, designers and end-users can utilize various trade-offs in their optimization strategies depending on their company-specific business models.

The 90.4P standard is based on the principles of power use effectiveness (PUE) as defined by The Green Grid. However, because PUE is an operational measurement metric, and this is a design standard, PUE terminology is not technically accurate, so language needs to be developed to relate the calculations of energy efficiency set forth in the standard to a total efficiency number, as well as to allow tradeoffs between electrical and mechanical elements. Suggestions from reviewers as to how best to accomplish this are welcome, ASHRAE said.

The proposed standard applies to new data centers and telecommunications buildings or portions thereof and their systems, new additions to data centers and telecommunications buildings or portions thereof and their systems, and modifications to systems and equipment in existing data centers and telecommunications buildings or portions thereof.

The proposed standard is open for public review and comment until Monday, March 30.

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