Glasgow senior electrical engineer featured in magazine interview of data center design experts

February 20, 2013 - Thanks to Kerr Johnstone, Senior Electrical Engineer in CH2M HILL's Glasgow, Scotland office, for doing a great job of representing CH2M HILL's range of data center design expertise in a new edition of Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine.

Johnstone, Kerr

Kerr was one of six experts interviewed in the magazine's "MEP Roundtable" about a variety of issues vital to the design of mission critical facilities such as data centers, including fire and life safety, electrical and power, HVAC, sustainability and codes and standards.

Kerr's contributions to the interview reinforced CH2M HILL's image as a company of creative solutions.

For example, when asked "How do you balance the need for reliable power with the desire for efficiency and sustainability?" Kerr described a strategy used on our data center project in the Netherlands for Digital Realty Trust, with the end client being data center network Terremark.

"We implemented a static flywheel UPS system, which provided reliable backup power until the facility's standby diesel generators started and were available to take the facility's full load," explained Kerr.

"The flywheel's autonomy was 15 seconds at full IT design load. While this appears insufficient time in terms of UPS autonomy, it was proved during factory tests—and more importantly on-site during commissioning of the electrical systems—that we were able to have the generators online and supporting the full load of the facility in less than 10 seconds.

"This meant we didn't have a large quantity of batteries that are typically found in traditional data center designs; by removing these batteries we became considerably more efficient in terms of not just the space and the requirement to condition the rooms to tight environmental tolerances, but also the sustainable aspect of disposal/replacement of a large quantity of batteries over the facility lifespan was an added benefit."

For more of Kerr's insights about data center design, here's a link to the Consulting-Specifying Engineer issue with the entire article, "Focus on Data Centers."  The MEP Roundtable interview of Kerr and the five other industry experts begins on page 10 of the issue.

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