KANSAS CITY, Missouri (March 16, 2016) — In today’s economy, uninterrupted, high-quality voice and data communications are a must. Data center operations are the nerve center for all major telecommunications corporations. Because downtime and service interruptions must be prevented at all costs, each data center must have pristine power quality and redundant systems in perfect working order.
For one major telecommunications company, Burns & McDonnell and Hitt Construction were tasked with executing a particularly complex data center upgrade in Reston, Virginia, all while the data center remained fully operational. The project called for the addition of 9,000 square feet of new data center space and the addition of two 2500kVA generators and reconfigured electrical systems, along with a host of other improvements to boost redundancy and reliability.
This successful project was completed in November 2015 and has been named as the winner of a 2016 Craftsmanship Award in the Electrical category, one of 10 projects recognized by the Washington Building Congress. The annual award ceremony recognizes significant achievements of highly skilled construction craftsmen in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan region.
While working inside the data center, downtime was not an option. Electrical tie-ins and testing had to be closely coordinated to ensure no interruptions. One particularly complex phase involved the routing of electrical conduit in interior space where there was little or no room for additional conduit. The solution was to utilize the Revit design system for its 3-D modeling capabilities. With the assistance of electrical contractor VarcoMac, the team implemented a plan to route new conduit around several horizontal obstacles, then turn vertically through second-floor office space and then across a roof span, all while carefully coordinating with structural engineers to ensure no overloading.
Electrical system design posed additional challenges. Because of the complexity of the existing electrical system and multiple methods of reliability, the breaker coordination study and arc flash study required modeling the complete system in SKM, which ultimately saved time as multiple scenarios were modeled. The careful modeling ensured design of a safe, highly coordinated electrical system.
Power supply for the facility was upgraded with the addition of two new 2-megawatt (MW) generators to provide additional backup power in the event of a service interruption for the local power utility.
The new electrical lineup included a 2500kVA transformer and a new 4000-amp main with paralleling gear to augment service from three existing services. A new 1500-kW uninterruptible power supply (UPS) was added with modular capabilities and an energy saver system, providing additional capability to switch on or off as needed for load. The energy saver system allows the UPS to bypass the traditional double conversion until a need is detected to switch back to double conversion. During testing, switching was achieved in 1.9 milliseconds, allowing the UPS to maintain load. By bypassing the double conversion, the UPS operates at 99 percent efficiency, helping reduce electrical energy and the amount of time needed for system cooling.
About Burns & McDonnell
Burns & McDonnell is a company made up of more than 5,300 engineers, architects, construction professionals, scientists, consultants and entrepreneurs with offices across the country and throughout the world. We strive to create amazing success for our clients and amazing careers for our employee-owners. Burns & McDonnell is 100 percent employee-owned and is proud to be No. 16 on Fortune’s 2016 list of 100 Best Companies to Work For. Connect with the manager of this project.