Data Center and Lab Best Practice Guides

Data Centers Best Practices

Integral Group, in conjunction with PG&E and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, created these comprehensive guidelines for data center design.

Data centers can consume 25 to 50 times as much electricity as standard office spaces. With such large power consumption, they are prime targets for energy efficient design measures that can save money and reduce electricity use. However, the critical nature of data center loads elevates many design criteria — chiefly reliability and high power density capacity – far above efficiency. Short design cycles often leave little time to fully assess efficient design opportunities or consider first cost versus life cycle cost issues. This can lead to designs that are simply scaled up versions of standard office space approaches or that re-use strategies and specifications that worked “good enough” in the past without regard for energy performance.

The Data Center Design Guidelines were created to provide viable alternatives to inefficient building practices. Based upon benchmark measurements of operating data centers and input from practicing designers and operators, the Design Guidelines are intended to provide a set of efficient baseline design approaches for data center systems. In many cases, the Design Guidelines can also be used to identify cost-effective saving opportunities in operating facilities. No design guide can offer ‘the one correct way’ to design a data center, but the Design Guidelines offer efficient design suggestions that provide efficiency benefits in a wide variety of data center design situations. In some areas, promising technologies are also identified for possible future design consideration.

Data center design is a relatively new field that houses a dynamic and evolving technology. The most efficient and effective data center designs use relatively new design fundamentals to create the required high energy density, high reliability environment. This document captures many of the new ‘standard’ approaches used as a starting point by successful and efficient data centers.

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