CHAPTER 16

DATA PROCESSING AND
ELECTRONIC OFFICE AREAS
Design Criteria ....................................................................... 16.1
Cooling Loads.......................................................................... 16.2
Air-Conditioning Systems ........................................................ 16.2
Supply Air Distribution ........................................................... 16.4
Return Air ................................................................................ 16.5
Direct-Cooled Computer Equipment ....................................... 16.5
Air-Conditioning Components ................................................ 16.5
Instrumentation........................................................................ 16.6
Fire Protection ........................................................................ 16.6
Energy Conservation and Heat Recovery................................ 16.6
ATAPROCESSINGandelectronicofficeareascontaincom-
Dputers, electronic equipment, and peripheral equipment
needed for data processing functions. Computer equipment has
expandedbeyondthetraditionalcomputerroomtobecomeaninte-
gralpartoftheentireofficeenvironment.
Computersandelectronicequipmentgenerateheatandgaseous
contaminants;suchequipmentusuallycontainscomponentsvulner-
able to temperature and humidity variations, dust and other air
impurities, and static electrical discharge. Exposure to conditions
deviating from prescribed limits can cause improper operation or
complete shutdown of equipment and may substantially reduce
equipment useful life expectancy (Weschler and Shields 1991).
Lossofequipmentfunctionordatacancausesignificant,sometimes
irreparable,damagetoorganizationsthatdependonit.
Ancillaryspacesforcomputer-relatedactivitiesorforstorageof
computer components and materials may require environmental
conditions comparable to those where the computers are housed,
although tolerances may be wider and the degree of criticality is
usually much lower. Other ancillary areas housing such auxiliary
equipmentasenginegenerators,motorgenerators,uninterruptible
power supplies (UPSs), and transformers have less stringent air-
conditioningandventilatingrequirementsthandocomputerareas,
butthecontinuingsatisfactoryoperationofthisequipmentisvitalto
theproperfunctioningofthecomputersystem.
DESIGN CRITERIA
Computer Rooms
Dataprocessingspacesthathousemainframecomputers,com-
puterpersonnel,andassociatedequipmentrequireairconditioning
tomaintainproperenvironmentalconditionsforboththeequipment
andpersonnel.Computerroomenvironmentsshouldbemaintained
withinestablishedlimitsandnotbesubjectedtorapidchanges.
Theenvironmentalconditionsrequiredbycomputerequipment
vary, depending on the manufacturer and the type of equipment
supported. Table 1 lists conditions recommended for most com-
puter rooms. Most computer manufacturers recommend that the
computer equipment draw conditioned air from the room. Some
equipment may require direct cooling using conditioned air,
chilledwater,orrefrigerant.Criteriaforair-cooledcomputersmay
differ from those cooled by room air in that this air must remove
computer equipment heat adequately and preclude the possibility
ofcondensationofmoisturewithintheequipment(seeTable2).
Becauseofthelargeamountofheatreleasedindataprocessing
areas,designsshouldminimizenewenergyuseforcooling,humid-
ification,anddehumidification.
Room Environmental Requirements
Thedistributionofairintheroomand/ortheresponseofcontrols
maynotmatchthenonuniformheatdistributionoftheequipment.
Modern computer equipment is controlled to minimize energy
input,whichresultsinamuchwidervariationinpowerconsump-
tionandheatreleasethanforolderequipment.
High relative humidity may cause improper feeding of paper,
corrosion,and,inextremecases,condensationoncoldsurfacesof
direct-cooled equipment. Low relative humidity, combined with
otherfactors,mayresultinstaticdischarge,whichcandestroyor
adversely affect the operation of data processing and electronic
equipment.Volatileorganiccompoundscanplateontocriticalsur-
faceslikediskdrives,causingtheheadtocrash,andontoprintedcir-
cuit boards where dust and static electricity can induce stray
currentsinverylowvoltageapplications.
Before it is introduced into the computer room, outdoor air
should be treated and preconditioned to remove dust, salts, and
corrosive gases. Dust can adversely affect the operation of data
processingequipment,sohigh-qualityfiltrationandproperfilter
maintenance are essential. Corrosive gases can quickly destroy
thethinmetalfilmsandconductorsusedinprintedcircuitboards,
and corrosion can cause high resistance at terminal connection
points.
Computerroomairconditioningmustprovideadequateoutdoor
air(1)todiluteinternallygeneratedcontaminantsand(2)tomain-
taintheroomunderpositivepressurerelativetosurroundingspaces.
Theneedtomaintainpositivepressuretokeepcontaminantsoutof
the room is usually a controlling design criterion. An outdoor air
quantityof6to8airchangesperdayusuallysatisfiescontaminant
dilutionrequirements(WeschlerandShields1991).Althoughmost
computerroomshavefewoccupants,ventilationforhumanoccu-
pancyshouldbeprovidedinaccordancewithASHRAEStandard
62.Whereoutdoorairisdilutedwithrecirculatedairfromthecom-
puterroomoradjacentareas,higherventilationratesarerequired.
The preparation of this chapter is assigned to TC 9.2, Industrial Air Condi-
tioning.
Table 1 Typical Computer Room Design Conditions
Condition Recommended Level
Temperature control range
~
72°F œ 2°F
Relative humidity control range
~
50 œ 5%
Filtration quality
Ä
45%, min. 20%
~
These conditions are typical of those recommended by most computer equipment
manufacturers.
Ä
From ASHRAE pí~åÇ~êÇ 52.1 dust-spot efficiency test.
Table 2 Design Conditions for Air Supply Direct
to Computer Equipment
Condition Recommended Level
Temperature As required for heat dissipation
Relative humidity
~
Maximum 65%
Filtration quality
Ä
45% minimum
~=
Some manufacturers permit up to 80% rh.
Ä=
As per dust spot efficiency test in ASHRAE pí~åÇ~êÇ 52.1.
Copyright © 2002 ASHRAE
16.2 1999 ASHRAE Applications Handbook
Theair-conditioningequipmentforcomputerspacesshouldbe
served by electrically isolated power sources to prevent electrical
noisefromadverselyaffectingcomputerequipmentoperationand
reliability.Equipmentlocatedincomputerspacesshouldbeinde-
pendentlysupportedandisolatedtopreventvibrationtransmission
to the computer equipment. Computer equipment manufacturers
shouldbeconsultedregardingcomputerequipmentsoundtolerance
andspecificrequirementsforvibrationisolation.
Temperature,humidity,andfiltrationrequirementsfortheequip-
mentarewithinthecomfortrangeforroomoccupants,butdraftsand
coldsurfacesmustbeminimizedinoccupiedareas.Somemanufac-
turershaveestablishedcriteriaforallowableratesofenvironmental
changetopreventshocktothecomputerequipment.Thesecanusu-
ally be satisfied by high-quality, commercially available controls
with control ranges of œ 1°F and œ 5% rh. The manufacturer`s
requirementsshouldbereviewedandfulfilledtoensurethatthesys-
temwillfunctionproperlyduringnormaloperationandduringperi-
odsofstart-upandshutdown.Computerequipmentusuallytolerates
asomewhatwiderrangeofenvironmentalconditionswhenidle,but
itmaybedesirabletooperatetheairconditioningtokeeptheroom
withinthoselimitsandminimizethermalshocktotheequipment.
Becausecomputertechnologyiscontinuallychanging,computer
equipmentinagivenspacewillbechangedand/orrearrangeddur-
ingthelifeofanair-conditioningsystem.Thesystemmustbesuf-
ficiently flexible to permit rearrangement of components and
expansionwithoutrequiringrebuilding.Inthetypicalinstallation,it
shouldbepossibletomodifythesystemwithoutextensiveair-con-
ditioningshutdowns.Incriticalapplications,itshouldbepossibleto
modifythesystemwithoutshutdown.
Isolation of Computer Spaces
Computerequipmentspacesareusuallyisolatedforsecurityand
environmental control. To maintain proper relative humidity in
computerroomsinotherwiseunhumidifiedspaces,vaporretarders
sufficient to restrain moisture migration during the maximum
expected vapor pressure differences between the computer room
and surrounding areas should be installed around the entire enve-
lope.Cableandpipeentrancesshouldbesealedandcaulkedwitha
vapor-retardingmaterial.Doorjambsshouldfittightly.Inexterior
wallsincolderclimates,windowsshouldbedouble-ortriple-glazed
anddoorsealsarerequired.
Ancillary Spaces Environment
Storage spacesforproductssuchaspaperandtapesgenerally
requireconditionssimilartothoseinthecomputerroom.
Electrical power supply and conditioning equipmentcantol-
erate more variation in temperature and humidity than computer
equipment.Equipmentinthiscategoryincludesmotorgenerators,
UPSs, batteries, voltage regulators, and transformers. Ventilation
to remove heat from the equipment is normally sufficient. Manu-
facturers`datashouldbecheckedtodeterminetheamountofheat
releaseandthedesignconditionsforsatisfactoryoperation.
Battery roomsforUPSsrequireventilationtoremovehydrogen
andtocontrolthespacetemperature.Theoptimumspacetempera-
ture is 77°F. Temperatures maintained higher or lower reduce the
abilityofbatteriestoholdacharge.Hydrogenaccumulationmaybe
nogreaterthan3%byvolume,andtheventilationshouldbedesigned
topreventpocketsofconcentration,particularlyattheceiling.
Engine generators used for primary or emergency power
requirelargeamountsofventilationwhenrunning.Thisequipment
iseasiertostartifalowambienttemperatureisavoided.
COOLING LOADS
Themajorheatsourceinacomputerroomistheequipment.This
heattendstobehighlyconcentrated,nonuniformlydistributed,and
increasingly variable. Computer components that generate large
quantities of heat are normally constructed with internal fans and
passages to convey cooling air, usually drawn from the space,
through the machine. Heat gain from lights should be no greater
thanthatingood-qualityofficespace;occupancyloadswillbelow
tomoderate.Heatgainsthroughthestructuredependonthelocation
andconstructionoftheroom.Transmissionheatgaintothespace
shouldbecarefullyevaluatedandprovidedforinthedesign.Vapor
retarder analyses should be performed where humidity-controlled
spacescontainwindowsonoutsidewalls.
Information on computer equipment heat release should be
obtainedfromthespecificcomputermanufacturers.Ingeneral,sys-
tems should be sized without a reduction for diversity, unless the
computermanufacturerorexperiencewithasimilarinstallationrec-
ommendsit.
Heat generated in computer rooms is almost entirely sensible.
Forthisreasonandbecauseofthelowroomdesigntemperatures,air
supplyquantityperunitofcoolingloadwillbegreaterthanformost
comfortapplications.Figure1showsthatchoosingroomdesignat
72°F,45%rhcanreduceairsupplyquantitybyapproximately15%
comparedtoaslightlymorehumidroomdesignof72°F,50%rh.A
sensible heat ratio between 0.9 and 1.0 is common for computer
roomapplications.
AIR-CONDITIONING SYSTEMS
Itmaybedesirableforair-handlingsystemsfordataprocessing
areastobeindependentofothersystemsinthebuilding,although
cross-connectionwithothersystemsmaybedesirableforbackup.
Redundant air-handling equipment is frequently used, normally
withautomaticoperation.Theair-handlingfacilitiesshouldprovide
ventilationair,airfiltration,coolinganddehumidification,humidi-
fication,andheating.
Therefrigerationsystemsshouldbeindependentofothersys-
tems and may be required year-round, depending on design
approach.
Computerroomsarebeingsuccessfullyconditionedwithawide
varietyofsystems,includingpackagedprecisionair-conditioning
units and central station air-handling systems. Air-handling and
refrigeration equipment may be located either inside or outside
computerrooms.
Fig. 1 Potential Effect of Room Design Conditions on
Design Supply Air Quantity
Fig. 1 Potential Effect of Room Design Conditions on
Design Supply Air Quantity
Data Processing and Electronic Office Areas 16.3
Precision Air-Conditioning Units
Precisionair-conditioningunitsshouldbespecificallydesigned
for computer room applications and built to and tested in accor-
dancewiththerequirementsofASHRAEStandard127.Precision
air-conditioning units are available with chilled water or multiple
refrigerantcompressorswithseparaterefrigerationcircuits;airfil-
ters;humidifiers;reheat;andintegratedcontrolsystemswithremote
monitoringpanelsandinterfaces.Theseunitsmayalsobeequipped
with dry coolers and propylene glycol precooling coils to permit
water-side economizer operation where weather conditions make
thisstrategyeconomical.
Self-contained air conditioners are usually located within the
computerroombutmayalsoberemotelylocatedandductedtothe
conditioned space. If they are remote, their temperature and
humiditycontrolsshouldbeintheconditionedspace.Locatingthe
air conditioner close to the load improves system flexibility to
accommodate the changing load patterns common in computer
rooms.Locationinthecomputerroomispracticalbecauseremote
unitsmaynothavesecurityprotectionbeyondstandardbuilding
maintenance.Wheresecurityisanissue,specialattentionshould
be paid to protecting the refrigerant condensing equipment for
remoteunits.
In systems using precision air-conditioning units, it may be
advantageoustointroduceoutdoorairthroughadedicatedsystem
servingalldataprocessingareas.Redundancycanbeachievedwith
multipleunitssothatthelossofoneormoreunitshaslessimpacton
overallsystemperformance.Expansionofanexistingdataprocess-
ingfacilityisofteneasierwithprecisionair-conditioningunitsthan
withcentralstationsystems.
Asetpointof72°Fwithconstantvolumeprecisionair-condi-
tioningunitsgenerallypermitsequipmenttoremainatanaccept-
able temperature within the established range for satisfactory
operation.Thislowcontrolset-pointtemperatureprovidesacush-
ion for short-term peak load temperature rise without adversely
affectingcomputeroperation.Comparedtoconstantvolumeunits,
variablevolumeequipmentcanbesizedtoprovideexcesscapacity
butwilloperateatdischargetemperaturesappropriateforoptimum
humidity control, minimize operational fan horsepower require-
ments,providesuperiorcontroloverspacetemperature,andreduce
theneedforreheat.
Whenchilledwaterprecisionair-conditioningunitsareused,the
reliability of the remote refrigeration system must be considered.
Thissystemgenerallymustbecapableofoperating24hperday,
and provisions must be made for a year-round supply of chilled
water.Chilledwaterprecisionair-conditioningunitsdonotcontain
refrigerationequipment;andtheygenerallyrequirelessservicing,
canbemoreefficient,andmorereadilysupportheatrecoverystrat-
egiesthandirect-expansionequipment.
Central Station Air-Handling Units
Central station supply systems must be designed to accommo-
date expanding loads in the computer areas. These systems must
includefilters,humidification,dehumidification,andcontrols.Cen-
tralstationsupplysystemshavealargercapacitythanprecisionair-
conditioningunitsandoffersignificantlygreateropportunitiesfor
energyconservation.Systemsthatusedirectevaporativehumidifi-
cationwithmechanicalcoolingandvariablevolumecontrolallow
the use of outdoor air for free cooling without a humidification
Waste heat from computer equipment can be used to provide the
heatofvaporization.
By using discharge air temperature as a method of dew-point
control,variablevolumeventilationfromair-handlingequipment,
usingevaporativeequipmentwithasaturationeffectivenessof90%
orhigher,canprovideeffectivehumiditycontrolwithouthumidity
sensingoractivecontrol.Figure2illustratesacentralstationunit
configuration that provides air at a constant temperature and dew
point.Asthiscoolairisprovidedatratestomaintainspacetemper-
ature design conditions, space relative humidity becomes a direct
functionofspacetemperature,eliminatingtheneedforexpensive
and unreliable humidity controls. Efficiency is increased by the
evaporativeprocess,whichcanusewasteheatfromthecomputers
toprovidethenecessaryheatofvaporizationforhumidification.
Becausedataprocessingareashaveanextremelyhighsensible
heatratio,variablevolumebecomesaviablestrategy,furtherreduc-
ing energy use. The evaporative process eliminates the need for
refrigerationattemperaturesbelowthesupplyairtemperatureofthe
systemandreducestheneedforrefrigerationforsignificantperiods
oftimewhenoutsideairconditionspermitanevaporativecooling
benefit. Stable, less-than-saturated air conditions can be achieved
by bypassing system return air around the evaporative process to
warmanddehumidifythesupplyair(seeFigure3).
Central station air-handling equipment should be arranged for
convenientservicingandmaintenance.Flexibilityandredundancy
canbeachievedbyusingvariablevolumedistribution,oversizing,
cross-connecting multiple systems, or providing standby equip-
ment.Nofloorspaceinthecomputerroomisrequired,andsources
of water and refrigeration may be eliminated from the computer
room. Virtually all servicing and maintenance operations are per-
formedinareasdevotedspecificallytoair-conditioningequipment.
Systemsecurityissues,however,mustbeaddressed.
Centralsystemsservingcomputerroomsmayserveotherbuild-
ingfunctionsifdesignedtoprovidecontinuous,year-roundopera-
tion and to meet the cooling and humidification requirements.
Centralsystemsaresuperiortoprecisionair-conditioningunitsfor
theelectronicofficeareawhereoverallenvironmentalrequirements
mayapproachthoseofthecomputerroom.Careshouldbetakento
exerciseredundantequipmentfrequentlytopreventconditionsthat
enhance the growth of mold and mildew in filters, insulated unit
enclosures,andoutdoorairpathwayswheresporesandfoodsources
formicrobialgrowthmayaccumulate.
Fig. 2 Constant Temperature/Dew-Point Air-Handling Unit
Fig. 2 Constant Temperature/Dew-Point Air-Handling Unit
Fig. 3 Air-Handling Unit with Return Air Bypass
Fig. 3 Air-Handling Unit with Return Air Bypass
energypenalty(seeChapter50,EvaporativeCoolingApplications).
16.4 1999 ASHRAE Applications Handbook
SUPPLY AIR DISTRIBUTION
Tominimizeroomtemperaturegradients,supplyairdistribution
shouldcloselymatchloaddistribution.Distributionsystemsshould
besufficientlyflexibletoaccommodatechangesinthelocationand
magnitudeoftheheatgainswithminimumchangeinthebasicdis-
tributionsystem.Airdistributionsystemmaterialsshouldensurea
cleanairsupply.Ductorplenummaterialthatmayerodemustbe
avoided.Accessforcleaningisdesirable.
Zoning
Computerroomsshouldbeadequatelyzonedtomaintaintem-
peratures within the design criteria and to minimize temperature
variationsduetoloadfluctuations.Individualcontrolforeachmajor
zoneisdesirable.Thecontrollingthermostatmustbelocatedwhere
itwillsensetheaverageconditionsintheareaitserves.Inlarger
areas,temperaturevariationswithinasingleroommayoccur,and
subzoningofspacesmaybedesirable.
Underfloor Plenum Supply
Tofacilitatetheinterconnectionofequipmentcomponentsbyelec-
triccables,dataprocessingequipmentisusuallysetaboveafalsefloor,
whichaffordsaflatwalkingsurfaceoverthespacewheretheconnect-
ingcablesareinstalled.Thisspacecanbeusedasanairdistribution
channel,eitherasaplenumor,lessoften,toaccommodateducts.
Figure4showsatypicalsetupwithunderfloorplenumairsupply.
Airisdistributedtotheroomthroughperforatedpanelsorregisters
setorbuiltintofloorpanelsaroundtheroom,especiallyinthevicin-
ity of computer equipment with high heat release. Airflow can be
controlledbythesize,location,andquantityoffloorregistersand
perforatedfloorpanels.Thesesystemshavetheflexibilitytoaccom-
modaterelocationofcomputerequipmentandfutureadditionalheat
loads.Allairshouldflowthroughopeningsintheunderfloorcavity
unlessdirectflowtoacomputerunitisdesired.Thepotentialadverse
effectofdirectairsupplyonthecomputerequipment(i.e.,conden-
sation within the machine) is serious enough to discourage its use
unless the manufacturer requires it. Most openings between the
underfloorspaceandtheequipmentusuallyexisttoaccommodate
cables;collarsareavailablethatfitthecableandsealtheopening.
Floorpanelscanbesimilarinappearanceto,andinterchangeable
with,conventionalcomputerroomfloorpanels.Thefreeareaoffloor
panelsmayvarysignificantlybetweenmanufacturers.Becausethey
arecompletelyflushwiththefloor,perforatedfloorpanelsaresuit-
ableforinstallationinnormaltrafficaisles.Withmoderateairflows,
panelslocatedfairlyclosetoequipmentcanproduceahighdegreeof
mixingnearthepointofdischargeandwillbetterpreventdraftsand
injectionofunmixedconditionedairintocomputersthanfloorregis-
ters.Figure5showstypicalfloorpanelairperformance.
Floor-mountedregistersallowvolumeadjustmentandarecapa-
bleoflongerthrowsandbetterdirectionalcontrolthanperforated
floor outlets. Floor registers, however, should be located outside
trafficareas.Somearenotflush-mounted,andalmostalltendtobe
draftierfornearbypersonnelthanperforatedfloorpanelswithlower
inductionratios.
Sufficientclearancetopermitairflowmustexistbeneatharaised
plenumfloor:12in.ofclearanceisdesirable,and10in.istheusual
minimum. In applications where cabling is extensive and/or air
quantities are especially high, additional floor clearance may be
required. The supply air connections into an underfloor cavity
shouldbedesignedtominimizeairturbulence.Wherepossible,the
supplytothecavityshouldbecentraltotheareaserved,andabrupt
changesindirectionshouldbeavoided.Piping,cable,andconduit
shouldnotbepermittedtointerferewithsupplyairflow.
Where multiple zones are served from an underfloor plenum,
dividingbafflesmaybeomittedbecauseairwillfollowthepathof
least resistance. Dividing baffles required to meet fire codes can
impede the modification of computer systems having cabling
interconnections between zones because any cable change may
entailpenetrationofazonebaffle.
Plenums should be airtight, thoroughly cleaned, and smoothly
finishedtoprevententrainmentofforeignmaterialsintheairstream.
Theuseandmethodofconstructionofplenumsmayberestrictedby
localcodesorfireunderwriterregulations.Surfacesinunderfloor
plenums(e.g.,water,chilledwater,brine,orrefrigerantpiping)may
requireinsulationandavaporretarderifsurfacetemperaturesare
lowenoughtocausecondensation.Ifthisisthecase,waterdetectors
shouldbeinstalledtoprotectcomputersandunderfloorwiring.
Ceiling and Ceiling Plenum Supply
Overhead supply through ceiling diffusers, shown in Figure 6,
may be suitable for computer rooms. Ceiling and ceiling plenum
supply systems can satisfy equipment and personnel comfort
requirements, but they are generally not as flexible as underfloor
plenumsupplysystems.Thisarrangementiscompatiblewithboth
centralstationandpackagedunitaryequipment.
Distribution of air can be regulated by selective placement of
acousticalpadsontheperforatedpanelsofametalpanelceilingor
byplacementofactiveperforatedsectionsinalay-inacousticaltile
plenumceiling.Whereprecisedistributionisessential,activeceil-
ingdiffusersorairsupplyzonesmaybeequippedwithairvalves.
Ceiling plenums, if properly constructed and cleaned, are more
likelytoremaincleanthanunderfloorplenums.
Ceiling plenums must be sufficiently deep to permit airflow
without turbulence; the required depth depends on air quantities.
Best conditions may be achieved by using distribution ductwork,
withtheairdischargedintothespacethroughairvalvesoradjust-
Fig. 4 Typical Underfloor Distribution
Fig. 4 Typical Underfloor Distribution
Fig. 5 Floor Panel Air Performance
Fig. 5 Floor Panel Air Performance
Data Processing and Electronic Office Areas 16.5
ableoutletsabovetheceiling.Overheadsupplysystemsshouldbe
limitedtoapplicationswhereairsupplyconcentrationsarelowor
theneedforflexibilityissmall.Whereloadsarehigh,aspiratingdif-
fusersmaycausedrafts,especiallyiftheceilingsarelow.Itcanbe
difficult to relocate rigidly ducted outlets in a facility that must
remainincontinuousoperation.
RETURN AIR
The use of ceiling plenum returns is a common and effective
strategy.Inletsshouldbelocatedaboveequipmenthavinghighheat
dissipationtotakeadvantageofthethermalplumecreatedabovethe
equipment.Ceilingplenumreturnscancaptureaportionoftheheat
fromthecomputersandthelightsdirectlyinthereturnairstream,
allowing a reduced air circulation rate. Ceiling plenum returns
enhancetheflexibilityofthespacetosupportfuturemodifications
ofthecomputerinstallation.
DIRECT-COOLED COMPUTER EQUIPMENT
The majority of cooling in direct-cooled equipment is still
accomplished with space air. Some computer equipment requires
direct cooling to maintain the equipment environment within the
limitsestablishedbythemanufacturer.Heatreleasedtothespace
fromthisequipmentisusuallyequaltoorgreaterthanthatforsim-
ilarair-cooledcomputersystems.Generally,aclosedsystemcircu-
latesdistilledwaterorrefrigerantthroughpassagesinthecomputer
tocoolit.Manufacturersnormallysupplythecoolingsystemaspart
ofthecomputerequipment.
Chilledwatermaybeprovidedbyeitherasmallchillermatched
in capacity to the computer equipment or a branch of the chilled
watersystemservingtheair-handlingunits.Designandinstallation
ofchilledwaterorrefrigerantpiping,andselectionoftheoperating
temperatures,shouldminimizethepotentialforleaksandconden-
sation, especially within the computer room, while satisfying the
requirements of the systems served. Chilled water systems for
water-cooledcomputerequipmentmustbedesigned(1)toprovide
wateratatemperaturewithinthemanufacturer`stolerancesand(2)
tobecapableofoperatingyear-round,24hperday.
AIR-CONDITIONING COMPONENTS
Controls
Awell-plannedcontrolsystemmustcoordinatetheperformance
of the temperature and humidity equipment. Controls for central
stationair-handlingequipmentmaybeincludedinaproject-specific
controlsystem.Spacetemperatureandhumiditysensorsshouldbe
carefullylocatedtosampleroomconditionsaccurately.
Wheremultiplepackagedunitsareprovided,integrationofcon-
trolsystemsandregularcalibrationofcontrolsisnecessarytopre-
vent individual units from working against each other. Errors in
controlsystemcalibration,differencesinunitsetpoints,andsensor
drift can cause multiple-unit installations to simultaneously heat
and cool, and/or humidify and dehumidify, wasting a significant
amountofenergy.
Refrigeration
Refrigeration systems should be designed to match the antici-
pated cooling load, should be capable of expansion, and may be
required to provide year-round, continuous operation. A separate
refrigerationfacilityforthedataprocessingareamaybedesirable
where system requirements differ from those provided for other
building and process systems and/or where emergency power
requirementsprecludecombinedsystems.Thesystemmustprovide
thereliabilityandredundancyrequiredtomatchthefacility`sneeds.
Systemoperation,servicing,andmaintenanceshouldnotinterfere
withfacilityoperation.Ifrequired,therefrigerationsystemshould
be operable with emergency power. Fulfillment of these require-
ments may necessitate multiple units or cross-connections with
otherreliablesystems.Iftheinstallationisespeciallycritical,itmay
benecessarytoinstallupto100%standbycapacitytomeetthemin-
imumrequirementsintheeventofequipmentfailure.
Humidification
areas,includingsteam-generating(remoteorlocal),pantypes(with
immersionelementsorinfraredlamps),andevaporativetypes(wet-
ted pad and ultrasonic). Ultrasonic devices should use deionized
watertopreventtheformationofabrasivedustsfromthecrystalli-
zation of dissolved solids in the water. The humidifier must be
responsivetocontrol,maintainable,andfreeofmoisturecarryover.
mentformoreinformationonhumidifiers.
Whenanair-sideeconomizerisusedinthecoolingofcomputer
areas, evaporative humidification should be considered due to its
ability to use waste heat energy to meet humidification require-
ments.Water-sideeconomizersareeconomicallyfeasibleinsome
climatesbutdonothavetheenergyefficiencypotentialofair-side
approachesandmaynotprovideadequatedilutionventilation.
Chilled Water Distribution Systems
Chilled water distribution systems should be designed to the
samestandardsofquality,reliability,andflexibilityasothercom-
puter room support systems. Where growth is likely, the chilled
watersystemshouldbedesignedforexpansionortheadditionof
newequipmentwithoutextensiveshutdown.Figure7illustratesa
looped chilled water system with sectional valves and multiple
valvedbranchconnections.Thebranchescouldserveairhandlersor
water-cooledcomputerequipment.Thevalvespermitmodifications
orrepairswithoutcompleteshutdown.
Where chilled water serves packaged equipment within the
computerroom,chilledwatertemperaturesshouldbeselectedto
satisfythespacesensiblecoolingloadswhileminimizingtherisk
ofexcessivecondensation.Becausecomputerroomloadsarepri-
marily sensible, chilled water should be relatively warm. Water
temperaturesashighas48°Farestillslightlybelowthedewpoint
ofa72°F,45%rhroomandseveraldegreesbelowthatofa72°F,
50%rhroom.
Chilled water and glycol piping must be pressure-tested, fully
insulated, and protected with an effective vapor retarder. The test
pressureshouldbeappliedinincrementstoallsectionsofpipein
thecomputerarea.Drippanspipedtoaneffectivedrainshouldbe
placedbelowanyvalvesorothercomponentswithinthecomputer
roomthatcannotbesatisfactorilyinsulated.Agood-qualitystrainer
Fig. 6 Typical Ceiling Plenum Distribution
Fig. 6 Typical Ceiling Plenum Distribution
See Chapter 20 of the ASHRAE Handbook-Systems and Equip-
Manytypesofhumidifiersmaybeusedtoservedataprocessing
16.6 1999 ASHRAE Applications Handbook
shouldbeinstalledintheinlettolocalcoolingequipmenttoprevent
controlvalveandheatexchangerpassagesfromclogging.
If cross-connections with other systems are made, possible
effects on the computer room system of the introduction of dirt,
scale,orotherimpuritiesmustbeaddressed.
Redundancy
Systemreliabilityissovitalthatthepotentialcostofsystemfail-
ure may justify redundant systems, capacity, and/or components.
Thedesignershouldidentifypotentialpointsoffailurethatcould
cause the system to interrupt critical data processing applications
andshouldprovideredundantorbackupsystems.
Itmaybedesirabletocross-connectrefrigerationequipmentfor
backup,assuggestedforair-handlingequipment.Redundantrefrig-
erationmayberequired;theextentoftheredundancydependson
theimportanceofthecomputerinstallation.Inmanycases,standby
powerforthecomputerroomair-conditioningsystemisjustified.
Any complication to the basic conditioning system that might
impair its reliability or otherwise adversely affect performance
shouldbecarefullyconsideredbeforeincorporationofheatrecov-
eryintothedesign.Potentialmonetarylossfromsystemmalfunc-
tion or unscheduled shutdown may outweigh savings from
increasedoperatingefficiency.
INSTRUMENTATION
Becausecomputerequipmentmalfunctionsmaybecausedbyor
attributedtoimproperregulationofthecomputerroomthermalenvi-
ronment,itmaybedesirabletokeeppermanentrecordsofthespace
temperature and humidity. If air is supplied directly to computer
equipment,theserecordscanbecorrelatedwithequipmentfunction.
Alarmsshouldbeprovidedtosignalwhentemperatureorhumid-
itylimitsareviolated.Withwater-cooledcomputers,recordsshould
bekeptoftheenteringandexitingwatertemperatureandpressure.
Indicating thermometers and pressure gages should be placed
throughout the system so that operators can tell at a glance when
unusualconditionsprevail.Properlymaintainedandaccurategages
forair-handlingequipmentfilterscanhelppreventlossofsystem
capacityandmaintaincorrectcomputerroomconditions.Sensing
devicestoindicateleaksorthepresenceofwaterinthecomputer
roomunderfloorcavityaredesirableinspacesservedbyprecision
air-conditioningunits,especiallyifbrineorchilledwaterdistribu-
tionpipingisinstalledwithinacomputerroom.Lowpointsindrip
pansinstalledbeneathpipingshouldalsobemonitored.
All monitoring and alarm devices should provide local indica-
tion.Monitoringdevicesmanybeinterfacedwithanintegratedcon-
trolorremotemonitoringsystemthatpermitsindicationsofsystem
malfunctionstobetransmittedtoaremotelocationtoinitiatecriti-
calandmaintenancealarms.
FIRE PROTECTION
Fire protection for the air-conditioning system should be inte-
gratedwithfireprotectionforthecomputerroomandforthewhole
facility.Applicablecodesmustbecompliedwith,andtheowner`s
insurersmustbeconsulted.Automaticextinguishingsystemsafford
the highest degree of protection. Fire underwriters often recom-
mendanautomaticsprinklersystem.Ifasprinklersystemisused,a
preaction, dry type should be used. Local annunciation of alarm
pointsshouldbeprovided,andmultiplestagesofalarmandsprin-
klersysteminitiationshouldbeusedtopreventaccidentaldischarge
ofsprinklers.
Sensing devices should be placed in the occupied space, the
supply- and return-air passages, and the underfloor cavity (if it
containselectriccablesbutisnotusedasanairsupplyplenum).
Thesedevicesshouldprovideearlywarningofcombustionprod-
ucts,evenifnosmokeisvisibleandtemperaturesareatornear
normal levels, to permit active measures to be taken to prevent
damage or unscheduled shutdown of computer systems. All fire
protectionsystemsshouldprovideforeithermanualorautomatic
shutdownofcomputerpower,dependingontheimportanceofthe
system and on the potential effect of an unwarranted shutdown
(NFPAStandard70).
Exhaustsystemsmaybeprovidedtoventilatecomputerroomsin
the event of a fire suppression system discharge. Location of the
exhaustpickuppointbelowasupplyplenumfloorpromotesquick
purgingofthespace.
ENERGY CONSERVATION AND
HEAT RECOVERY
Energy Conservation
Dramaticreductionsinenergyusecanbeachievedwithconser-
vationstrategies.Wheresecondaryusesforrecoveredheatdonot
existorjustifytheuseofheatrecovery,centralstationair-condition-
ingsystemsusingoutdoorairforfreecooling,variablevolumeven-
tilation, and evaporative cooling/humidification strategies offer
significantopportunitiesforreducingenergyuseandimprovingair
qualityoverprecisionair-conditioningsystems.Adew-pointcon-
trolstrategycaneliminatetheneedfortroublesomehumiditysens-
ingdevicesandprovideprecisehumiditycontrol.
Thesesamestrategiesmaybeemployedtoprovideefficientand
cost-effectivesolutionsonalargerscalewithintheelectronicoffice
andothersupportenvironments.
Heat Recovery
If a use for recovered energy exists, computer rooms are good
candidatesforheatrecoverybecauseoftheirlargeyear-roundloads.
Heat rejected during condensing can be used for space heating,
domesticwaterheating,orotherprocessheat.Iftheheatremoved
by the conditioning system can be efficiently transferred and
appliedelsewhereinthefacility,someoperationalcostsavingmay
berealized.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Krzyzanowski, M.E. and B.T. Reagor. 1991. Measurement of potential
contaminants in data processing environments. ASHRAE Transactions
97(1):464-76.
Lentz, M.S. 1991. Adiabatic saturation and VAV: A prescription for
economy and close environmental control. ASHRAE Transactions
97(1):477-85.
Longberg, J.C 1991. Using a central air-handling unit system for environ-
mental control of electronic data processing centers. ASHRAE Trans-
actions 97(1):486-93.
Weschler, C.J. and H.C. Shields. 1991. The impact of ventilation and
indoor air quality on electronic equipment. ASHRAE Transactions
97(1):455-63.
Fig. 7 Chilled Water Loop Distribution
Fig. 7 Chilled Water Loop Distribution