Copper is keeping one data center running efficiently and reliably all day long. Involta, a Cedar Rapids, Iowa based company that designs, builds, and operates data centers, recently opened its newest data center in Boise. At the heart of Involta’s newest center is an all-copper wiring and grounding system which helps keep the 31,400-sq-ft facility operating all day.

The facility operates using independent dual power feed systems, which feeds power to two step-down utility transformers. Both the “Red” and “Blue” power feeds have backup generators which can shoulder the load in case of an emergency. The busways feature all-copper conductors and racked equipment, which is bonded to traditional copper busbars.

“We try to split the load evenly and never get above 50% on either of the dual circuits,” said Jeremiah Hinkle, Involta’s data center manager. “So in the event that there is a failure in one of those feeds, the alternate busway can support the IT load on that particular rack or row of racks.”

Where copper plays its biggest role is in the grounding and lightning protection of the plant. A bare copper ring completely surrounds the facility, which has 10-ft by 3/4-in. copper-clad grounding electrodes bonded to it. All electrical and lightning systems are connected to this ring.

Copper initially is more expensive than aluminum but over time will prove to be the cheaper option. This is due to copper’s lower maintenance and labor costs, especially due to its superior connectability and natural corrosion resistance.

“It may be cheaper up front to use aluminum, but it’s going to be more expensive to maintain,” Hinkle said. “Inside the plant at Involta-Boise, from downstream of the distribution switchgear to all the way out to the customer, our systems are all copper.”

The new facility offers a full-service colocation center for clients seeking to outsource mission-critical services, including IT consulting and management. Involta operates 11 data centers in six states.