The large fans bring fresh air into perhaps the most innovative feature of the HP Wynyard data center: a lower chamber that functions as a 15-foot high raised floor. Inside this plenum, air is prepared for introduction into the IT equipment area. When the outside air entering the facility is colder than needed, it is mixed with the warm air generated by the IT equipment, which can be recirculated from the upper floor into the lower chamber.
The Wynyard facility is located in Billingham, England, where the outside temperature only rises above 24 degrees C (75 degrees F) for about 20 hours a year. The data center still maintains traditional chillers for those occasions, which differentiates the HP site from recent facilities built by Google in Belgium and Microsoft in Dublin, which focus on free cooling but have opted to not install chillers at all.
HP says the cooling techniques used in the Wynyard site will help HP cut the building’s CO2 emissions by 12,500 metric tons and reduce energy consumption by 25,000 megawatt hours per year. The building design also allows HP to obtain a power usage effectiveness (PUE) rating of slightly less than 1.2, consistent with the most efficient data centers in the industry.