Power Loft Readies First Site, More to Come

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Power Loft LLC is nearing completion of its first facility in northern Virginia and has purchased land for a second data center in San Antonio, the company said this week. The company is looking at several other markets for its innovative two-story data centers, which place the IT equipment and mechanical infrastructure on separate floors.

As its name suggests, Power Loft has focused on power efficiency in developing its first data center, the 215,000 square foot Power Loft@Innovation in Manassas, Virginia. The facility is engineered with a flexible power transmission infrastructure that offers tenants the option of full DC power distribution. Power Loft president and CEO Jim Coakley says the new facility will be able to support up to 300 watts per square foot in a high-density configuration.

“We’ve built the facility so that will scale either AC or DC effortlessly,” said Coakley. Power Loft’s approach will be of particular interest to users interested in the benefits of DC power distribution. Power Loft is working with Validus DC Systems, which specializes in DC power infrastructure and hybrid AC/DC solutions. Power Loft’s Virginia facility was designed by EYP Mission Critical Systems, where CEO Peter Gross has been an advocate of the potential benefits of DC distribution.


The facility in Manassas includes 100,000 square feet or raised floor equipment space, split between two modules on the upper floor of the two-story building. The lower floor houses air handling units (AHUs) that deliver cold air through the ceiling and into the under-floor plenum of the second story. The hot air is retrieved through a ceiling plenum, and then returned to the lower floor through channels along the side of the building.

An adjacent facility houses the Hitec rotary UPS (flywheel) and switchgear, while another building is dedicated to the generators and chillers. By using a “hard separation” between the server area and the mechanical equipment, Power Loft says it is able to maximize every square foot of the temperature-controlled raised floor area.

“We get 1,000 more racks in the same square footage than any other data center I’ve ever worked with,” said Coakley, a real estate veteran who previously developed data centers with T-Rex Capital. “The feedback has been very positive so far. I was concerned initially because it was such a new design approach. But something had to change.”

Coakley said early inquirers have included several financial service companies and “government proxies” seeking facilities for federal clients. “The government loves the design, because now you can badge people at two different security levels,” depending on whether they need access to the mechanical equipment or the racks, he said.

Power Loft expects the Manassas development to achieve Silver LEED certification. The facility has a green roof and will use green screen exterior. The site will be managed by Total Site Solutions.

Power Loft@Innovation has arranged for 50 megawatts of power capacity from the Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC). “I liked Prince William County (for site location) because they had a number of data centers and the concept wasn’t new,” said Coakley, who noted that power availability was more difficult in Loudoun and Fairfax counties due to the concentration of data center projects in those counties.

Power Loft has announced development plans for a 23 acre parcel in San Antonio, Texas. Power Loft@Westover will be located in the Westover Hill business park, next door to a huge new Microsoft data center, and provide up to 150,000 square feet of high-density raised floor area. The company is also scouting additional site in the Atlanta area and Aurora, Colorado.

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.