At the recent 2019 Data Center World Conference, held March 19-22, 2019, I attended a lightening session presented by Mike Zarrilli, Jr., executive director of data center solutions and Sharon Ann Thomas, product manager, AHU, Johnson Controls. The session titled, “How to Reduce Total Cost of Ownership and Drive Down PUE,” focused on three ways to accomplish this namely increasing allowable temperatures in the data centers, investing in cooling technology, and utilizing data center design for optimal outcomes.

Zarrilli said that increasing air temperatures in data centers allows for a reduction in airflows and, ultimately, fan use. “Fans use a lot of power,” he explained. As for cooling, he said data center operators can opt for free cooling and use waterside economizers that provide 20% to 30% in savings. “We have moved beyond CRACs and CRAHs,” he said.

Later, at the Johnson Controls booth, Zarrilli talked about Johnson Control’s continuing focus on the mission critical industry, specifically data centers. “Johnson Controls has been in the data center space since the beginning,” he said, adding that data centers need products to meet their unique needs. One of those products, the YORK® Mission Critical Direct Evaporative Cooling (DEC) Air Handling Units (AHUs), was designed to meet the specific needs for data centers. The units are offered in two sizes (250 kW and 500 kW) and in both perimeter and rooftop configurations. The units are designed to yield a partial-power usage effectiveness (pPUE) of less than 1.1. This translates to lower OPEX, according to Zarrilli.

Other data center-specific products that the company displayed at the conference include fire suppression, specifically the ANSUL® Acoustic Nozzle, which directs agent into the hazard area and reduces the sound level compared with standard nozzles; the YORK® YVFA free-cooling VSD screw chiller that enables operation in three modes (mechanical, hybrid, and free); the INERGEN® fire suppression agent under the Tyco brand; and the BlueStream™ hybrid cooling system, which, according to the company, “reduces water consumption by up to 80% through utilization of wet cooling when it’s hot and dry cooling when it’s not.”

The pursuit of new products is because of Moore’s Law, Zarrilli said. “Every three years technology advances so previous technology is moot,” he explained. This relatively fast pace will mean more products on the horizon specific to the changing needs of data centers.