If a data center loses cooling, hindsight will be no consolation for mission critical facilities managers who failed to consider the role of portable cooling in averting a meltdown. Most important, then, is having a workable plan in place before a crisis descends, says James Piper, P.E., a national consultant based in Bowie, Md. Piper has more than 25 years of experience in facilities maintenance and management.
Portable units should be matched to needs and conditions in the most critical areas. A good plan identifies those areas ahead of time: For example, computers or telecommunications cannot lose cooling for even a short time, so portable units will need to be on hand immediately to prevent damage from overheating. Secondary areas should also be assessed, since even where it’s a question of people working in discomfort, lost productivity can create serious operating losses for a facility, especially if employees have to be sent home.
Facility managers will need to estimate the sizes of cooling units correctly, says Piper, and they can do this by asking engineers to make load calculations that take into account heat from equipment as well as exterior walls, windows, people, and the like.
Also important is to determine whether there is sufficient power in the area for a portable cooling unit. Some factors to consider include voltage in the power supply, how the unit may hypothetically reject heat, size of the unit relative to the space it will be used for, and weight and noise limits. Finally, if a larger unit is required, it might need access to a water supply, perhaps even a connection to the chilled-water system for the building.
Go here for more information on assessing portable cooling needs for critical operations.