Ceiling-mounted spot cooler cools server room

The University of Louisville Health Care Outpatient Center, in Louisville, Ky., had a problem with its server room overheating. The center decided on a MovinCool CM12 ceiling-mounted spot air conditioner.

02/07/2011


The University of Louisville Health Care Outpatient Center, in Louisville, Ky., had a problem with its server room overheating. The 8 x 12-ft room houses server and telecom equipment that is vital to the center’s daily operations. The equipment runs 24 hours a day and needs to be cool at all times to avoid malfunctioning, hardware damage, or system downtime. University of Louisville Case Study

The problem surfaced when, in an energy-saving effort, the setpoints of the building’s central HVAC system were adjusted to turn the system off at night. As a result, equipment in the server room became excessively hot and was shutting down at night, incapacitating the health-care center for hours at a time.

The building’s facility manager knew that continuing to run the central air conditioning system to cool only one room would be too costly, so he contacted Joe Dotson, service account manager of Scarborough Mechanical Services, Inc., the Louisville firm that had installed the original HVAC system, to propose a solution.

In evaluating the available choices, Dotson excluded a precision cooling system as having unneeded features and an unnecessarily high price tag. “In this situation, it would have been overkill,” Dotson said. “A ductless split system was another alternative, but it would have meant additional installation expense in penetrating the roof and running refrigerant lines to the outside unit, as well as running electric lines to two separate pieces of equipment. Also, the room was very cramped, and there was really no space to mount a wall unit.”

DUniversity of Louisville Case Studyotson decided on a MovinCool CM12 ceiling-mounted spot air conditioner, which has a cooling capacity of 10,500 Btu/h at 80 F and 50% relative humidity (RH) at the evaporator and 95 F and 40% RH at the condenser; and 13,000 Btu/h at 95 F and 60% RH. The self-contained unit requires no external refrigerant lines, outside condensing unit, or charging of refrigerant, and it measures only 15.5 in. high, so it fits into the space above a drop ceiling. Built-in 10-in. flanges and mounting brackets allow quick installation with standard, off-the-shelf mounting hardware. The unit plugs into a 115-V electrical outlet, further reducing installation costs. Dotson purchased the CM12 from Trane HVAC Parts & Supplies, in Louisville.

“Installation was very straightforward,” Dotson added. “We got in and out in a day, with no system downtime and minimal impact on the customer. If the room had been unoccupied and we didn’t have to work above all the computer equipment, the installation would have probably taken only half a day.

“One convenient feature of the CM12 is that it has a built-in condensate pump, which eliminates an installation step or two. After attaching the unit to the ceiling and connecting the intake and exhaust ducts, we ran the condensate drain to a sink in a nearby maintenance closet.

“Then we installed the unit’s wall-mount thermostat. The CM12 can also be connected to a central control system, but there was no need in this scenario. A big advantage of a self-contained unit like the CM12 is that it’s in an interior space where the heat load is fairly consistent throughout the year, so we don’t have to worry about running an external condensing unit in low ambient conditions. We just set the thermostat to one temperature and hold it there all year round.”

Dotson and the team are very pleased with the results. “The health-care center has no more shutdowns due to overheating,” he said. “Also, the facility manager was happy that we were able to perform the installation so quickly and with no interruption of the center’s operations. He also likes the fact that without an outside condensing unit, the system has minimal maintenance costs.

“The CM12 is perfectly designed for this type of application. It has the usual MovinCool quality, it’s easy to install in tight spaces, and it has an affordable price tag.”


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