CyrusOne News and Blog

Chandler V and VI can now boast high ENERGY STAR ratings

December 7, 2021

CyrusOne’s Chandler data center in Phoenix has generated high marks in the coveted ENERGY STAR rating system, recognizing its efforts to operate at the highest possible efficiency at the facility.

Chandler V received a ranking of 82 and Chandler VI garnered a rating of 92, both pending certification after an engineers’ audit that begins Nov. 29 and will be complete in days. They join Chandler I, II and III with rankings of 84, 83 and 85, respectively.

The ENERGY STAR ratings show how efficiently Chandler operates. It’s not only a good practice as part of operating sustainably to improve the environment, it also means a lower operating costs for customers. While a data center may be constructed to be efficient, with efficient cooling and lighting, it must also be operated properly to be efficient.

ENERGY STAR is “the [U.S.] government-backed symbol for energy efficiency, providing simple, credible, and unbiased information that consumers and businesses rely on to make well-informed decisions.” To receive an ENERGY STAR rating, a building must at least score a 75.  Which means it is in the top 75th percentile of the data centers in the nation. Chandler IV and V are in the 82nd to the 92nd percentile.

Engineers generally audit utility load (kWh) and IT load (UPS) for 12 months and upload that data to ENERGY STAR. For Chandler V and VI, CyrusOne has uploaded 24 months of data to set the baseline. This includes all metering and meter recordings for the 24-month period. Once ENERY STAR validates the information, the certification will become official.

One way Chandler improved its efficiency was through better management of chiller fan speeds, which often represent about 20% of total energy load for a facility. These fans normally work 24 hours a day and seven days a week, powering up and shutting down to maintain optimal temperature and subfloor pressure for servers to operate properly. But by reducing fan speed using variable speed drives on fan motors, CyrusOne can lower fan speeds to ensure subfloor pressure and cooling requirements while using less energy. While many facilities run fans at a 100%, CyrusOne can drop fan speeds down 25% to 40% and save 75% to 80% of energy needed.

For example, if CyrusOne reduces fan speeds by 40%, it decreases their electrical load by some 70%.

And while fan speed is important, CyrusOne has also maximized the efficiency of its chillers at Chandler by combining its water loops so that it can maintain proper operating temperatures using only five chillers instead of the full eight. That removes a significant amount of power from the load, while still maintaining safe temperatures for operations.

At the same time CyrusOne has limited bypass air (cooling) in the facilities using blanking panels, air pillows and brushes to concentrate the cooling air to only the equipment in the cold aisles.

Reducing energy usage is just one part of a complete sustainability equation. The Chandler facility recently won Top Project of the Year Award from the Environment + Energy Leader Awards program for making the Chandler campus our first net positive water data center and the first such data center that we know of in the world.

The Chandler campus is in an extremely high water-stress region. So, we significantly cut the facility’s water intake by using our water-free cooling design, using only small amounts for humidification, facility maintenance, and domestic water. We also teamed with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation and the Arizona Land and Water Trust to restore water flows to the region using Water Restoration Certificates, which are generated by helping local farmers switch to high-efficiency irrigation systems that allow more water to stay in natural waterways. Through these credits, we restored 40% more water than we used in 2019.

Whether it’s working to gain high ENERGY STAR ratings or be net positive in water usage, Chandler represents just one of many efforts in our ongoing sustainability efforts. Read more in our recently published 2021 Sustainability Report.