Data Centers: Implementing Retrocommissioning To Improve Efficiency
Retrocommissioning, load monitoring and effective maintenance can help managers ensure energy-efficient operations
Recommissioning the HVAC system sequence of operations is another key maintenance process that too often goes overlooked. The process also can provide energy savings, since it can reveal issues, such as sensors out of calibration and valves and dampers that are not fully opening or closing or are not operating correctly at all.
These issues can have a tremendous impact on the system’s energy efficiency. A simple problem such as a humidity sensor out of calibration can cause the system to bring in a large amount of cool, humid air, requiring a great deal of energy to cool that air.
If a facility was commissioned upon opening. then all of the commissioning forms should be available for managers to go back through the system and verify the operation. If the facility had never been commissioned, managers should perform retrocommissioning.
Retrocommissioning and recommissioning are likely to provide the greatest return on the investment. When developing a request for proposal (RFP) for either process, managers need to focus on the experience of the firm and team, making sure they have been doing data center and mission-critical work for a minimum of 10 years.
Managers also need to communicate clearly on the equipment in question. Listing the equipment in the RFP and providing controls and DCIM as-built drawings helps ensure the most accurate bids that also are comparable to each other.
Data centers use a tremendous amount of energy to operate, and they offer a great deal of potential energy savings. The challenge for managers is to tailor these strategies and tactics to their facilities’ data centers. The effort requires experienced individuals to review and develop plans to attain the best PUE the facility can achieve.
Glenn Cattell, LEED AP BD+C and CCP, is an engineering manager with Horizon Engineering Associates — www.horizon-engineering.com — in the firm’s Ann Arbor, Mich., office. He is a licensed master electrician with more than 20 years of experience commissioning a variety of projects, including data centers, hospitals, laboratories, higher education, and industrial manufacturing. Social media: twitter.com/HEA_Energy; www.linkedin.com/company/horizon-engineering-associates-llp; and www.facebook.com/HorizonEngineeringAssoc.