Project Snapshot: MIT Media Lab | Server Cooling Units

Project Name: MIT Media – Server Cooling Units
Owner: MIT
Mechanical Engineer: Allen Consulting L.L.C.
Mechanical Contractor: Austin Services
Equipment: 5 – Custom Vertical Fan Coil Units
Manufacturer: Cambridgeport – Canton MA
Size: 5000 cfm – ECM Fans
DAC Sales Engineer: David Goodman


MIT Media Lab Building

The MIT Media Lab applies an unorthodox research approach to envision the impact of emerging technologies on everyday life—technologies that promise to fundamentally transform our most basic notions of human capabilities. Unconstrained by traditional disciplines, Lab designers, engineers, artists, and scientists work atelier-style, conducting more than 350 projects that range from neuro-engineering, to developing the city car of the future. E14 is a 3 year old building and is technology home to these MIT Researches, Professors, and Students.

The Problem: A server room is located on every floor for data storage with space cooling provided by ceiling mounted, packaged 5000 cfm AHUs. Some of the spaces were OK but others were very loud and couldn’t hold temp with rooms being too warm. The AHU’s were a service issue with belt fans and being hung directly above the data storage / computer racks.

MIT Vertical Cooling UnitOvercoming Space Constraints: David Goodman was invited for a walk through by MIT HVAC Supervisor. The goal was to find and claim floor space and design a vertical cooling unit to fit it. An open corner directly straight ahead was accessible with only a single data rack to move. Quick measurements showed that a 4 ft X 4 ft Vertical unit could fit if built in modules with KD Knock – Down legs and drain pan.

Install: Using dolly’s and small lifts the Cambridgeport install team brought the built up fan and coil section into the space. The 4 legs were attached with bottom drain pans and enclosure panels. Registers were mounted with 4 way blades to adjust air throw towards the base of the data racks. A top mounted return air box with slide out filters was place on top of the main fan coil assembly. New vertical CW risers were installed by Austin Svcs. team and connected to the new units with power.

MIT UnitUnit Features: MIT chiller plant allows CW temp to rise in Winter making the coil selection very challenging for the team. The unit with ECM fans was capable of moving more air in winter months for more air turns if needed. Control panel contains On / Off switch and BMS Auto mode with relays to start/stop the new units OR the existing ceiling units. Panel mounted potentiometer allows for ECM fan speed to be set by balancer or adjusted as needed.

Related Blog Posts:
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