University of Florida - East Campus Data Center

New construction; University of Florida - East Campus Data Center; Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.


The east elevation/building entry of the University of Florida East Campus Data Center is shown. Courtesy: Whiting-Turner ConstructionEngineering firm: Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.
2013 MEP Giants rank:
University of Florida - East Campus Data Center
Gainesville, Fla., United States
Building type:
School (college, university)
Project type:
New construction
Engineering services:
Automation & Controls, Code Compliance, Electrical/Power, Fire & Life Safety, HVAC
Project timeline:
October 2009 to February 2013
Engineering services budget:
$8.5 million
MEP budget:
$8.5 million

The data center’s outdoor protected equipment yard is actually outside the building but under cover. Courtesy: Whiting-Turner ConstructionChallenges

The project consisted of two data halls with very different reliability requirements. One data hall required Tier 3 infrastructure and the other needed only Tier 1. Both data halls required scalability to accommodate significant future load growth and the potential for high-density deployment. In addition, the project targeted LEED-NC Version 3 Gold certification, which is an aggressive goal for a data center when following the LEED calculation methodology for baseline energy consumption.


This photo shows the center’s equipment cabinets and cabling conveyance. Courtesy: Whiting-Turner ConstructionThe two data halls with different reliability requirements were designed utilizing a common central infrastructure to avoid stranded equipment capacity. The utility distribution systems were designed in a hybrid manner so that the Tier 3 data hall was provided with concurrent maintainability while the Tier 1 data hall was provided with a conventional distribution topology. Central cooling, UPS, and standby generation are all scalable, and provisions were made for deployment of liquid-cooled in-row solutions.

To maximize energy performance over the LEED baseline condition, the system utilizes high-efficiency central equipment and the thermal environment inside the data halls was designed in accordance with the thermal envelope of the 2008 supplement to ASHRAE's Thermal Guidelines for Data Processing Environments. This allows the use of elevated chilled water temperatures, significantly increasing the available operating hours on economizer in the climate of northern Florida and improving energy performance. The building and its systems were designed for safety in construction and operation, with ready access to parts requiring frequent inspection and segregation of people and equipment flows.

The project was designed using BIM on a Revit platform with Navisworks utilized for clash detection. This approach yielded better integration with Whiting-Turner, which led the Design-Build team, and the trade subcontractors. It improved the overall speed of project delivery and the quality of the final installation.

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