Archive for March, 2009

National Center for Atmospheric Research

Monday, March 30th, 2009

As part of the design team with Rumsey Engineers to design the mechanical system for the new National Center for Atmospheric Research supercomputing data center, we narrowed down our design from eight options to three with a real likelihood of going forward with one. The highest PUE of all eight designs was 1.17, already phenomenal by today’s standards of the 1.3 to 1.5 range. The Rumsey Engineers team and Peter outdid their already incredibly efficient designs with a new one that is so simple it comes in with a calculated PUE of 1.07. In all likelihood, due to higher reliability than the original design scope, other scope creep, and lesser efficient UPSs than we’d like, the final PUE may be in the 1.1 to 1.14 range, but we are working hard to get the design below 1.10 PUE, a first for the industry. We are also working hard to achieve a net-zero energy use facility with on-site renewables to meet the fairly high loads. The site so happens to be in one of the windiest areas of the US but we can’t put large wind turbines up on the site because the site is too small for the massive setbacks required from the local jurisdiction, so we are working on solar options and also purchase of wind energy from nearby wind power plants. Overall, a fun project and another great example of good engineering can achieve significant money and energy savings.