Commercial & Industrial

Biogen Idec
Data Center

efficiency improvements

OpTerra performed a comprehensive energy analysis for Biogen Idec’s Data Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

OpTerra analyzed energy usage in Biogen Idec’s 2,500 sq. ft. data center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Through this analysis, OpTerra was able to design and implement highly efficient data center solutions that significantly reduced Biogen’s annual energy costs and qualified them for over $50,000 in NSTAR utility incentives.

OpTerra identified issues stemming from gaps in, between and under racks, as well as hot air in cold aisles and at the end of aisles, all of which were causing short-circuiting. Additionally, CRAC units were running constantly, independently and with a low level of control or information about their operation, making them highly inefficient. Lastly, cold air beneath the raised floor was obstructed by wires and piping, contributing to the hot spots found in cold aisles.

Biogen Idec
ServerA zero-impact solution was found that significantly reduced short-circuiting, cut energy costs, and gave Biogen a high level of knowledge and control over HVAC operations. OpTerra was able to reduce short-circuiting through the use of blanking panels, kick plates and air foam. Variable speed fans with flex duct were installed in the ceiling to move air directly from the hot aisle to the CRAC units. The fan’s speed varies due to temperature set points measured by two sensors in the airstream, all making the CRAC units more efficient. Fan trays with eight variable speed fans were also placed strategically in cold aisles to pull air to racks, causing the air to move much more efficiently than before the retrofit. A central control unit monitors CRACs, air-movers and sensors. It is able to dynamically respond to failures and temperature changes in the room and controls the air-movers and CRACs in a unified, intelligent way.

The final project resulted in the installation of 13 floor trays and 6 overhead air-movers whose positions were determined through CFD analysis. The installations successfully improved the airflow of the aisles and reduced short-circuiting, giving Biogen Idec the ability to shut their second CRAC unit off and place it in standby where it can be turned back on dynamically when the control unit senses a CRAC failure or high temperature return on other units. The project resulted in a total annual savings exceeding $60,000.