New Wiring Devices Helping Data Centers Power Down Their Demand

If you could go back a decade or so, you’d find the growing data center 
market then under fire for its notoriously high energy demand. Operators
 based their siting decisions on locations offering easy access to 
inexpensive electricity, with energy cost being the primary motivator.  
Today’s owners, however, are equally concerned about the environmental 
impact of that energy’s generation, which is helping to drive efficiency
 improvements in data center design. Hubbell Wiring Device-Kellems

Chuck Ross

If you could go back a decade or so, you’d find the growing data center market then under fire for its notoriously high energy demand. Operators based their siting decisions on locations offering easy access to inexpensive electricity, with energy cost being the primary motivator.  Today’s owners, however, are equally concerned about the environmental impact of that energy’s generation, which is helping to drive efficiency improvements in data center design.

One of the more recent developments in U.S. data centers is the adoption of a power-distribution approach that’s been popular in Europe for some time. European operators face both significantly higher energy costs and greater regulatory attention toward energy efficiency, making even marginal reductions in demand worthy of attention. So those developers have boosted performance by distributing 240/415V power directly to server racks. This approach has three demand-reducing advantages over the standard U.S. approach of stepping this three-phase power down to 120/280V:
  • Improved server power-supply efficiency.
  • Elimination of the step-down transformer and its related losses.
  • Lower cooling requirements, because less energy is being lost as heat.
The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has approved two wiring-device configurations to support these installations, which previously were completed using pin-and-sleeve connectors. These two new twist-locking connector options, L25-30 and L26-30, incorporate features to ensure cord retention and protect terminations from cord and cable strain. And they incorporate shielding to protect wiring chambers from dust or other contaminants.

“Now that we have the new NEMA configurations available, customers are leaning toward the new twist-lock design,” says Mike Williams, senior product manager with Hubbell Wiring Device-Kellems.


Photo courtesy of Hubbell Wiring Device-Kellems

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