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Comments sought on data centre standard

13553593_lUSA: A proposed standard from ASHRAE that specifically addresses the unique energy requirements of data centres is open for advisory public review.

High plug loads and rapidly advancing IT technology make data centre applications significantly different from their commercial building counterparts. Standard 90.4P, Energy Standard for Data Centres and Telecommunications Buildings, is being developed in response to requests to recognize the energy performance profiles unique to data centers.

Data centres were previously included in in ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-2013, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings. It is said that  Standard 90.4P will feature a performance-based approach that is more flexible and accommodating of innovative changes which rapidly occur in the data centre design, construction and operations.

Standard 90.4P is open for advisory public review from Nov. 15-Dec. 30, 2013. For more information, visit

“The explicit needs of data centres drive a fundamentally different approach to regulating minimum efficiency requirements for the electrical and mechanical systems that support the plug loads,” says Ron Jarnagin, chair of SPC 90.4.

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

Also, says ASHRAE, current industry modelling tools do not possess all the necessary mathematical models to accurately and appropriately model data centre hvac and power design. As a result, demonstrating compliance to the 90.1 Chapter 11 or energy cost budget approaches is not always a practical option. Instead, Standard 90.4P proposes to utilise a performance compliance path known as the Power Utilisation Efficiency (PUE) developed by The Green Grid.

Although there is proposed research for the development of mathematical methods and associated software tools to assist data centre designers down the road; compliance with 90.4P is intended to be possible without the use of modeling tools at this time.

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