Fabric duct solution unburdens data center build-outs part 1

Cooling build-outs can be one of the highest operational costs facing data storage facilities. However, executives at San Diego-based redIT says it has implemented a new cost-saving measure at its data centers. The new procedure involves adding cooling drops for individual partitions inexpensively, and only as new customers come onboard.


To ensure redundant capacity, datacenter construction requires a complete and expensive build-out of a space’s HVAC system, including ductwork and diffusers. Because it may take years to lease out the entire space, this upfront cooling build-out can be a costly practice. redIT officials have found a short-term, more cost-effective alternative by installing each sheet metal drop and diffuser only after a customer comes onboard. This approach postpones construction costs while saving data centers time and resources.

That said, this phased sheet metal construction approach also has disadvantages. Sheet metal construction creates airborne particulates and poses other unnecessary risks to neighboring computer equipment. It also costs thousands of dollars in installation labor and material associated with each new cooling drop. Additionally, outsourced sheet metal contractors in highly restricted access control areas can potentially jeopardize security efforts.

redIT, operating multi-tenant facilities with many Fortune 500 clients, realized these challenges. Furthermore, the firm wasn’t satisfied with the prices, performance, or flexibility of conventional CRAC air distribution systems.

redIT used this cost-saving phased cooling approach during the build-out of the first 14,800-sq-ft datacenter phase of its 88,000-sq-ft facility in San Diego. The HVAC service contractor, Countywide Mechanical Systems, introduced fabric ductwork to redIT’s design team. The team included Mark Hopperton, chief technology officer, and Gabriel Faulkner, facility manager.

Factory engineers from fabric duct manufacturer DuctSox Corp., and the redIT team, partnered with Gilbert Dominguez, manager of manufacturer’s representative Toro-Aire, to design a custom-fabricated fabric ductwork drop as an alternative to conventional sheet metal drops. The application was the first case for the manufacturer where a custom-fabricated, inverted T-shaped fabric fitting was used for data center equipment spot cooling.

to be continued….

Stay tune for next part of this successful story of fabric duct application to solve your air dispersion problem and help you save cost!

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