Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
DIGI Technology Operation Centre in Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia by T.R. Hamzah & Yeang Sdn Bhd
March 29th, 2014 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: T.R. Hamzah & Yeang Sdn Bhd
The project is a data centre with ancillary facilities i.e. Administration Offices, Reception Lobby, Telco Tower and a Service Management Centre (Command Centre) for Digi Telecommunications Sdn. Bhd.
Project Team (Architect):
The Client’s brief was to design a data centre based on ‘IT Data Center’s Uptime Institute’ Tier III platform, with the possibility to scale-up to Tier IV security and to include substancial ecological features.
The response to the Client’s brief is a building designed to optimize the data centre footprint, provide effective drainage and waterproofing to protect sensitive equipment, reduce solar heat gain into the data centre and allow for effective security measures.
The façades of the Data Centre incorporate extensive vertical green walls that act as living habitats. The large greenery compontent also act as means of filtering and improving a building’s ambient indoor air quality.
The green walls act as a living, breathing, regenerative cladding that acts as a living art installation and biological air filter. Green walls, both indoors and out, decrease local CO2, help regulate humidity levels, trap dust, reduce noise and create a habitat for urban wildlife.
Exterior green wall installations reduce solar gain (the entrapment of heat by passive solar gain on the building surface) and, by extension, building energy costs; provide protection from the effects of UV radiation and acid rain; and help lessen the building’s contribution to the heat island effect (resulting from vegetated land replaced with concrete and asphalt).
Vegetated Green Wall
In addition to improving the project’s conservation footprint via the addition of large areas of native vegetation, the vertical green wall contributes to the building’s overall performance in the following manner:
1. Ecological Continuity - This vertical eco-infrastructure establishes a continuous habitat on all facades of the building thereby enhancing its ecological performance and contributing to the site’s biodiversity. Conditions of this green armature are especially conducive to populations of butterflies and species of small birds. The continuity of the design further promotes biodiversity as the green wall effectively acts as one large habitat as opposed to a segmented design in which the biodiversity impact is less effective due to balkanization;
2. Natural Air Filtration – The green walls have been developed in conjunction with the building’s ventilation design to act as a biological air filtration system. Five fresh air intakes are strategically located immediately behind the green wall trellis in order to capitalize on the particulate filtration and CO2 sequestration afforded by their proximity to greenery.
3. Thermal Performance - The extensive, 1460m2 green wall contributes to the overall thermal performance of the building envelope. This contribution is significant as the project’s green wall covers an area equal to approximately 32% of the total surface area of the building envelope. The enhanced thermal performance afforded by green walls as architectural cladding is documented by a growing body of academic research.
The main office and circulation spaces are glazed using full-height Low-E curtain walls to provide maximum daylight penetration and enables energy efficient lighting systems within the spaces. Perimeter lighting fixtures are controlled by daylight sensors which reduce energy consumption by automatically switching off lamps when adequate daylight is available. Secondary rooms are also fitted with operable windows for natural ventilation and daylight.
An array of photovoltaic panels is installed on the building’s uppermost roof area. Mounted on a steel trellis, the 234 m2 PV array generates approximately 35.28KWh of electricity on site with all power generated feeding directly back into the municipal power grid. This renewable energy production represents an overall reduction in CO2 emissions of 12,516 kg per year and helps offset the intensive energy demands of the data centre operations.
Natural filtration and drainage systems are used to reduce the burden of surface run off to the public drainage system. They also act to collect surface run off for reuse in the central irrigation system. The project’s sustainable drainage strategy also includes the use of permeable grass pavers for all ground level car park areas. These systems allow rainwater to replenish the site’s local aquifer rather than being diverted into an external storm-water drain.
Siphonic rainwater down pipes are used for high velocity rain-water run-off from the building’s roof. This rainwater is channeled into a collection tank with a capacity of 100 cubic meters. The tank is made of 100% recycled content materials. Collected rainwater is filtered and reused to irrigate plantscapes around the building and cater for the water requirements of the vegetated green wall via an integrated gravity-fed rooftop irrigation system. The project’s rainwater harvesting system has been designed to ensure that no potable water is used for irrigation purposes.
The project utilizes a highly efficient dual-mode air and water cooled chiller system (0.6KW/ton estimated) with multiple zoning FCU and precision air-conditioning in the data centre areas. Zoning of FCU creates savings in Energy requirement due to variations on zoning usage. The cooling requirements of the data centre are further optimized via an innovative ‘cold aisle containment’ system. This system establishes targeted cooling zones that meet the requirements of specific equipment rather than expending the energy otherwise required to cool rooms uniformly.
Variable speed pumps for energy efficient usage are used due to variation in load. This provides approximately 30% overall energy savings for the projects pump systems.
Light fittings are energy efficient Florescent T5 using low loss electronic ballasts. These offer higher luminance levels and their zoning enables energy conservation through specific usage requirements. This system is bolstered through the use of occupancy sensors, daylight sensors and control via the central Building Automation System.
Lifts incorporate AC VVVF control and gearless motor drives with synchronous motor and permanent magnets and are fitted with detection sensors, sleep modes and energy saving light fittings.
Indoor Air Quality
There are minimum requirements for ventilation rates in accordance with ASHRARE 62.1:2007 which are designed to enhance the comfort and well-being of the occupants. Strict use of low-VOC coatings, paints and adhesives further reduce detrimental impact on occupant’s health from finishes that emit internal air pollutants. Extensive greenery at the building envelope also acts as a biological filter to improve ambient air quality.
Dual Flushing WC’s are fitted allowing control of water volume based on different usage needs. All basin taps and other sanitary wares are water efficient fittings with certified WELs ratings of 3-tics (maximum efficiency rating). In addition, waterless urinals are specified in the male toilets, further reducing water consumption. Overall use of potable water within the building is reduced by more than 50%.
Regular shuttle service is provided between the building and the Batu Tiga KTM station (1.6km away) in order to encourage employees to commute via public transportation. Preferred parking for carpools is provided adjacent to the building’s main entrance.
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