What do you need to know about designing fire and life safety in data centers?
Will data centers get larger? More efficient? Use less water? Learn about the fire and life safety trends here
Fire and life safety systems in data centers
- Fire protection systems in data centers are often different, as the electrical equipment requires different suppression.
- Cost constraints, location and energy use will dictate the location of data centers.
- Bill Kosik, PE, CEM, BEMP, Senior Energy Engineer, DNV, Oak Park, Illinois
- Brian Rener, PE, LEED AP, Principal, Mission Critical Leader, SmithGroup, Chicago, Illinois
- Ameya Soparkar, Market Leader, Mission Critical, Affiliated Engineers Inc., Rockville, Maryland
- Robert Sty, PE, LEED AP, Vice President, HDR Inc., Phoenix, Arizona
What clean agent, aerosol, oxygen reduction or other fire suppression systems typically specified? Describe a project and the system specified.
Brian Rener: In most cases we are specifying double interlocked pre-action (dry pipe) sprinklers in combination with an air aspirated laser based early warning smoke systems. In the rare cases we use gaseous suppression, it’s in addition to a pre-action system due to local authorities.
What fire, smoke control and security features might you incorporate in these facilities that you wouldn’t see on other projects?
Robert Sty: Fire protection systems at the building level are many times what you would see implemented in most commercial buildings. The room and rack level systems get more specialized. Most data centers will deploy double interlock, dry pipe pre-action systems in the data halls along with a very early smoke detection apparatus (VESDA) to sample the air and give early warnings to the facilities teams in the event that any smoke is detected. You will see legacy facilities still use chemical agents such as Halon or other types, but less so in new facilities. Battery rooms have received special attention recently due to the introduction of new chemistries such as lithium ion.