Newcastle Data Centre Gets Green Light

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A second ‘state-of-the-art’ green data centre has been given planning approval at the Cobalt Campus in Newcastle

A second state-of-the-art green data centre has been given the go ahead at the Cobalt Data Centre Campus near Newcastle.

North Tyneside Council gave its planning consent for the construction of the 3,360 square metre DC2 building, which will include four autonomous modular data halls made up of two 960 sqare metre halls, as well as two 720 square metre halls.

The Cobalt Data Centre Campus already houses a data centre building, known as DC1, which contains 4,262 square metres of technical or “white” space in four autonomous data halls. The DC1 facilities were awarded a BREEAM Excellent rating in August last year, even before that facility had been completed.

Tier 3 Facility

The BRE Global Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) specification is a leading environmental assessment method for buildings. Essentially it sets out best practice guidelines for sustainable building design and has now become the de facto measure of a building’s environmental performance. In June last year, the BREEAM rating scheme was extended to cover data centres.

The proposed DC2 building is being designed by the development company Highbridge Properties to a Tier 3 (N+1) Uptime Institute Standard. It is also expected to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating. Earlier this week, Fujitsu’s data centre in North London was also awarded the Tier 3 Operational Sustainability Gold Certification for its continuous availability of cloud services.

“DC2 is an important part of Highbridge’s ongoing commitment to establish a world class data centre campus at Cobalt to capitalise on cutting edge design to achieve cost savings and 80MVA of dedicated power on the site,” said Guy Marsden of Highbridge.

Free-Air Cooling

“Cobalt Park is the UK’s largest office park and is home to world class occupiers. Meanwhile, the Data Centre campus is designed to provide the region with an exceptionally high standard facility to attract inward investment, and already DC1 has been acknowledged as one of the greenest and most sophisticated data centres in the UK,” Marsden said. “We have equally high ambitions for the speculative DC2 building, which is an important part of our strategy to develop high quality and competitive data centre solutions in the North East.”

To this end, the data halls in the new facility will use two cooling options, depending on what the customer wants. This includes the energy-saving Direct Air Optimisation Cooling (i.e. free air cooling) which “applies ambient air to directly cool the data hall through standard modular air handling units, or a conventional chilled water system using chillers and computer room air conditioning.”

According to Highbridge, the natural cooling system is supplemented by backup DX cooling in the event that ambient conditions exceed the required air temperatures. Highbridge also revealed that the new DC2 facility will include naturally ventilated office space on the 1st floor, arranged around an open courtyard in order to facilitate direct natural ventilation.

Free air cooling is becoming an increasingly popular way for data centre operators to lower their energy bills. For example a recently completed data centre for Dumfries and Galloway local council inside a listed building also used free-air cooling.

Power And Connectivity

Meanwhile both the Cobalt DC1 and DC2 data centres have their own separate substations, with direct links through 4 diverse cable links to 80MVA at the National Grid. And of course the campus has diverse route connections in order to ensure appropriate data connectivity.

DC2 will be completed to building shell and central core under the first stage of work, with construction expected to start in the Spring of this year.

The technical fit out of the halls will follow in the second stage.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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