NextDC enables business transformation through innovative data center outsourcing solutions, connectivity services, and infrastructure management software. It provides enterprise-class colocation services to local and international organizations. In July 2012, its M1 Melbourne data center — a 15-MW hyperscale colocation facility — went live. NextDC is committed to sustainability and renewable energy, so it was no surprise when the M1 data center received a 4.5-star rating from National Australian Built Environment Rating Systems (NABERS) in 2016 for incredible building performance. The rating was largely reflective of NextDC’s decision to install Smardt Chillers using Danfoss Turbocor oil-free compressor technology. But, that wasn’t enough. NextDC improved its systems even more, receiving a 5-star NABERS rating in 2019. The M1 data center became the first to ever receive five stars in Australia. Because of the company’s reputation, maintaining and continuing sustainable, efficient systems is essential to upholding its core business values and maintaining its 100% uptime guarantee.
NextDC consulted with the Smardt Chiller Group, a longtime OEM partner of Danfoss, to further improve the efficiency of the cooling system. In 2016, three additional Smardt chillers were added to accommodate expansion and maintain maximum efficiency at the M1 Facility. In applications like data centers, cooling systems typically have a higher number of run hours than in office buildings and schools. Therefore, efficiency improvements in cooling systems can create major energy savings for data centers. In recent years, data centers have been utilizing various technologies to cool equipment in the most efficient way possible. Further, they are pushing the operating envelope in the server rooms by increasing temperatures. This enables chillers to consume less power but also challenges the compressor operating map. In response, Smardt collaborated with Danfoss to expand the operating map of the oil-free Danfoss Turbocor compressors in order to allow them to operate at higher water temperatures while enabling operation at lower ambient conditions. Compressors operating in these two areas — high chilled-water temperatures and low ambient conditions — run at low compression ratios or “low lift.” Operation in this area offers significant energy savings but requires some changes to the compressor. Smardt and Danfoss engineers overcame these challenges by developing a technology that implements software changes and other improvements needed to allow the oil-free centrifugal Turbocor compressor to operate at optimal efficiency in low-lift conditions.