January 2023

8C — January 2023 — Owners, Developers & Managers — M id A tlantic Real Estate Journal


O wners , D evelopers & M anagers

By Steve Creato & Andrew Fix, ECS Corporate Services Air leakage test results provide energy and cost saving opportunities for New Jersey data center

F or most people, a data center is simply a place that’s filled with racks of expensive computers and networking equipment and yet, the building can be just as important to the overall success of the data center as the computers and equipment themselves. Data centers are rapidly being constructed as they become more important in our society. Digital con- sumption is on the rise and so are environmental expecta- tions, which means develop- ers, contractors, and commer- cial real estate firms should be

ready to meet more stringent energy efficiency requirements for these facilities. What is the good news? This also reduces building operations cost. Whether your company is considering building a new facility or expanding an exist- ing one, you should consider consulting with a building envelope consultant early in the process. These profession- als can help you understand the different components of a facility and point out the things that are affecting your energy consumption, like air leakage. Many contractors do not have experience with the specific testing required to confirm air leakage of a building; however, a qualified building envelope consultant does, and can facili- tate the testing. ECS recently performed an air leakage test on a newly con- structed 162,000 s/f, two-story data center in Totowa, New Jersey to meet the ASHRAE 90.1-2016 energy efficiency requirement that was adopted by the New Jersey Energy Code. To conduct this test, the building needed to be pressur- ized with the use of high-pow- er fans, and pressure readings were taken inside and outside of the building. While a facil- ity of this size would typically require twelve fans, during test runs it was determined that the building only required nine to achieve the required pressure differential between the interior and the exterior of the building. ECS constructed a tempo- rary wood frame to hold the fans at a roll-up door at the loading dock. Hoses were run from each elevation of the exterior of the building, as well as throughout the inte- rior, and connected to gauges which took pressure readings. The testing was performed in both the positive and negative directions. Prior to pressurization, ECS utilized a high-resolution in- frared camera to conduct a thermographic inspection of the insulation installation. The team was able to identify locations of thermal bridging and potential gaps in the insu- lation. While the building was pressurized, ECS conducted a thermographic inspection of the exterior walls. With the use of the high-resolution infrared camera and other diagnostic measures such as “find or feel” continued on page 9C

Air leakage test on a newly constructed 162,000 s/f two-story data center in Totowa, NJ

Northwest elevation view of building

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