Chiller replacement within live setting

Location: Green Park, Reading
Project type: Chiller replacement
Scope: Essential and non-essential chillers
Client: Cisco
Construction value: £3,500,000k

Cisco provides global networking solutions to enable connectivity for its clients. At its Reading location in Green Park it runs one of its always-operational data centres. The success of Cisco’s business had led to additional rack capacity being added to its IT systems at the data centre over time across several iterations. To ensure the configuration could continue to meet the demands of the business Cisco embarked on a project to replace the main chiller plant. Mint MEP was appointed as MEP services consultant to contractors CBRE and ECO of London. The project was particularly demanding because it required continuous service to the data centre throughout the replacement programme.

The project plan required the replacement of three 1MW chiller units. Following a feasibility study, Mint MEP’s design solution re-framed the set-up from being a single cooling system to a split system with both essential and non-essential systems.

With a single cooling system, the system is relied upon for both critical and non-critical cooling. Critical running meant the system was operating significantly below its capacity due to the implications of low water temperatures required for sufficient cooling.

Mint MEP created the MEP designs needed to implement a dual essential and non-essential cooling services strategy. We specified the implementation of the necessary services and equipment to provide a separate non-essential chilled water-cooling system. This included an interface between the two systems with a plate heat exchanger configuration to ensure the systems remained separate unless a changeover was required. In the event of an essential chiller failure the non-essential chiller is designed to automatically provide essential chilling as a fail-safe back-up system.

Because the building had to remain live throughout project, the scheme allowed for chillers to be replaced on a phased basis. This approach meant the available load from the main plant was reduced. To mitigate against this reduced capacity a standby-chiller was procured to ensure resilience during the replacement of the existing chillers.

The MEP design project for this mission critical facility was delivered successfully, on budget and on time. The split system approach provides better performance, greater energy efficiency and resilient cooling services. Since capacity determines racks available this MEP solution will support greater profitability.