Ventilation Needed To Meet Increased Digital Demand – Covid19

Specialised ventilation products help support digital demand fuelled by home working and online shopping

There are glimmers of a silver lining in the dark clouds cast by COVID-19. Infection levels have been falling since early January and the NHS vaccination programme is proving a huge success.

But the good news does not end there. In the business world, companies like my own have seen an uptick in interest in specialised ventilation products and services.

This has resulted, at least in part, from the growth in the demand for digital services as people clamour for alternatives to meeting face-to-face. One outcome of this has been that the use of Zoom and other social media platforms has exploded. On top of this, online shopping has grown apace, and home working has skyrocketed.

All these trends – combined with the need for greater computing power for logistics, warehousing, and fulfilment – have combined to turbocharge the demand for data centres.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents to a recent survey by respected digital consultancy Business Critical Solutions (BCS) believe that 2021 will see an increase in demand for data centres, up from 40% recorded last year.

The survey recorded the views of more than 3,000 senior data centre professionals across Europe, including owners, operators, developers, consultants and end-users.

“If there is one thing the coronavirus has proven, it is that when faced with a truly urgent imperative, both the public and private sectors can adapt at astonishing speed and scale,” said James Hart, CEO at BCS.

“Central to that response has been the data centre which has been the engine room enabling the health response, the mass home working effort, maintaining degrees of business continuity as well as keeping disparate families in contact.”

Indeed, the structural changes in consumer and employee behaviour brought about by the pandemic have resulted in deals worth billions in data centres.

Data centres require good ventilation to dissipate the enormous heat loads they generate. And that means more work for HVAC contractors and a greater requirement for high quality ventilation equipment.

Cooling technology such as chillers, cooling towers, condensers and air handling units are vital components of data centre cooling.

But, more important than the equipment itself is its reliability, particularly in a business critical setting like a data centre.

External HVAC equipment – often sited on exposed roofs – draws air in from the outside and this air can contain debris including dust, leaves, pollen, insects and other detritus, all of which can clog the system filters. This can cripple a data centre cooling system, endangering the IT equipment within.

That’s why the first line of defence to keep the cooling operating at optimum efficiency should be some form of external pre-filtration media such as our own ECEX Air Intake Screens.

The simple step of fitting pre-filters will ensure outdoor units continue to work at their optimum capacity, are kept in good working order and, as a significant bonus, offer huge savings on fuel bills.

But there is also a second line of defence to protect HVAC equipment, particularly exposed equipment such as air handling units (AHUs) – effective maintenance/refurbishment. Implementing maintenance effectively pays real dividends in terms of fewer breakdowns, better efficiency and healthier profits.