Helping Customers Achieve LEED Certification

shutterstock_1215845381Everyone is talking about sustainability these days. We’re doing more than just talking about it.

Our world headquarters, built in 2010, is a LEED Gold Certified building and is just one example of our commitment to healthy, energy efficient, and sustainable business environments.

Today, we’ve taken that commitment one step further, becoming the first manufacturer to be awarded Environmental Product Declarations on copper jacks and cabling. These EPDs, awarded by UL Environment, help your projects become LEED certified.

It’s only been recently that the US Green Building Council adopted LEED version 4, which allows cabling systems to be counted toward LEED points. So, what do you need to know if you’re looking for a cabling system that complies? Below we’ve outlined some of the most common questions that we get.

Q: What’s an EPD/HPD?

EPD = Environmental Product Declarationcertified_epd_green

HPD = Health Product Declaration

EPDs and HPDs are both issued by a third-party after they verify reports supplied by the manufacturer. EPDs disclose potential environmental impacts of a product, while HPDs disclose what a product contains and how it impacts human and ecological health.

Q: What products have EPDs and HPDs?

A wide variety of materials used in the construction of buildings carry these declarations.

The Panduit EPDs cover 18 types of RJ45 jacks and 22 different copper cables. The offering includes:

  • Unshielded and shielded applications
  • Category 5e, Category 6, and Category 6A
  • Riser and plenum flame ratings

HPDs are pending for the same group of products.

Q: How does it work? If I install a product with an EPD, do I automatically get LEED points?

It not quite that simple! LEED requires the installation of at least 20 different products that have third-party certification to qualify for one LEED point. These products must be from at least five different manufacturers. So, when you install at least four different certified products from Panduit, that counts as one portion of one point for EPD and one portion of a second point for HPD. Different levels of LEED certification require different numbers of points to qualify.

Q: Can’t I get EPDs and HPDs with all cabling systems?

No! Panduit is one of a handful of cabling manufacturers that have received EPDs on copper cabling, but we’re the ONLY one to receive EPD certification on RJ45 jacks. So, if you’re looking for an end-to-end solution that can help you earn LEED certification, Panduit is your only choice!

We’d be happy to share more information on our EPDs and HPDs. You can get information on our Sustainable Solutions page, or from Customer Service.

Cabinets Are More Than Big Metal Boxes

How do cabinets impact operational costs?

This question is not asked enough by data center designers, owners or managers as they build-out new whitespace. Cabinets are the foundation of the data center’s physical infrastructure, used throughout the life cycle of the facility. IT equipment that runs the applications are contained within them, the cabling that connects the equipment to the users and the LAN/SANs are terminated and managed in them, power is distributed within them, and cooling is channeled through them. They are also the most visible infrastructure element, and how they look and fit together is often an indicator of how a data center is run and managed.

Why then are they frequently taken for granted, simply considered “big metal boxes”? Why isn’t there more emphasis on cabinets being considered an asset that helps reduce operational costs?

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Adding a New Physical Infrastructure: Part 1

How do you build out a new data center physical infrastructure?

Under the best of circumstances, building out new data center capacity is complex, expensive, time consuming and fraught with risk. Experts, engineers and consultants are needed for everything from designing the building shell, planning power and cooling systems, to commissioning. These are just the major categories. Think about the expertise needed to manage all the details that cascade from them!

If you are responsible for a small to mid-sized data center you may be faced with doing more of this yourself given the available resources. Increased complexity makes it difficult to find and retain people who possess all the essential skills needed to design and integrate the power, cooling, racks, cabling and other components necessary to complete the build correctly, and on-time. Taking on the coordination of the build-out in addition to normal responsibilities can be overwhelming.

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Incentives For Energy Consumption

I recently had the opportunity to discuss an application for a retrofit containment system installed into an existing data center with a sales person. Not an uncommon story, given the effectiveness of separating cold and hot air streams in the data center to reduce cooling energy consumption. The part of the story that stood out for me was that the sales person enthusiastically related how the end user realized an instant payback on the containment system and had money left over. It sounded too good to be true. My first thought was just how badly is this data center being operated that the retrofitting of a containment system would yield an instant payback and still have money left over???

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DCIM for Small Data Centers

When it comes to running an efficient operation, small data centers have many of the same concerns and challenges as their larger counterparts. One of the greatest challenges that managers of small data centers have is that they typically have limited resources in terms of technology, staffing, and financial support.

This can leave a small data center more vulnerable to inefficiencies, inflexibility for growth, and the potential for system failures. One example we run into on a regular basis occurs when the manager of a legacy data center needs to obtain power consumption and environmental data as a result of a cost reduction initiative, or difficulty finding capacity for new applications. This typically occurs in data centers that are older, may have between 20 and 30 racks, and have grown, despite best intentions, in unintended ways.

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Cisco Live 2014

This year’s Cisco Live , being held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, promises to be another exciting event. As a Platinum Sponsor, Panduit will be exhibiting in booth #1521 and will be featuring our Intelligent Data Center Solutions, Enterprise Solutions and Industrial Automation Solutions.

We are particularly excited about Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) architecture that promises to deliver fast application provisioning and simplified operations. ACI networks will be built upon a flatter 2 tier network architecture that requires some new ways of thinking about how an optimal physical infrastructure should be built. Panduit has been working with Cisco to understand the differences between traditional three tier physical architectures and the ACI architecture, and will be presenting the “ACI Impact on Physical Infrastructure Design and Deployment” in the general session on Tuesday May, 20th at 2:00 p.m. PDT. Examples of cabinets configured with Spine/Leaf network topologies including Top of Rack (ToR), End of Rack (EoR) and Middle of Rack (MoR).

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Building Automation and Managing the Corporate Facility

Building Automation ImageToday’s facility and IT managers are facing multiple challenges in managing corporate facilities. The corporate facility includes various areas such as the commercial building, manufacturing floor, warehouse, remote sites, and data center. All of these corporate facilities require different attention from the managers to meet the corporate sustainability goals set forth by the executive team. Goals that mainly revolve around reducing CapEx and OpEx costs by performing energy reduction, capacity planning, equipment life-cycle-management, and provide a productive and collaborative work environment that the manager has to deal with on a continuous basis. These top-of-mind issues require accurate data collection, and are converted into useable information to enable smart decision-making. At the same time, the manager is asked to perform all of his or her daily activities with less staff to reduce overhead cost. This “do more with less” phenomena requires the manager to utilize the latest Information Technology to gain insights into areas that need improvement through the use of Building Automation Systems and benchmarking against industry metrics. A good Building Automation System empowers organizations to reduce operational and capital expenses, improve visibility of key operational data, and enable sustainable, energy efficient facilities.

 

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Rescue Stranded Data Center Capacity

Whether it is power, space, or cooling, stranded capacity can strangle your data center’s efficiency, blow-up your budget and put the brakes on new applications implementation.  We have encountered many approaches to freeing stranded capacity ranging from the expensive…redeployment or reconfiguration of devices, or adding power or cooling capacity in an operational data center, to the ones requiring lower investment…additional perforated floor tiles, fans, or “meat locker” curtains to help improve cooling capacity utilization.

Frequently, we are asked to help reclaim stranded data center capacity. One approach that is relatively low risk and economical is to improve the utilization of existing cooling capacity. Installing blanking panels and sealing gaps in the raised floor is typically our first recommendation. Fast, simple, and inexpensive to implement, it is typically a first step and may not provide the level of separation needed to concentrate cooling air to accommodate higher densities. The next step is hot or cold aisle containment.

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Measure, Improve and Maintain for Higher Efficiency

Statistics, multiple analysts, and research reports indicate that data centers are often overprovisioned with power and cooling capacity to maintain service levels regardless of actual IT equipment utilization. As you are well aware, this approach has proven to be expensive and inefficient. As data center energy consumption grows it is drawing the attention of CFO’s and corporate responsibility managers who are concerned with the impact of the data center’s operation on the environment and of course, the impact on the bottom line. So how can you improve your data center’s efficiency?

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Maintaining Energy Efficiency

New research information from Data Center Dynamics indicates that global data center energy consumption in 2013 has slowed down to 7% growth as compared to 19% between 2011 and 2012. This reduction is attributed to energy efficiency measures, consolidation projects and outsourcing, primarily in mature markets.

Data Center Dynamics Graphic

So, does this mean data center managers and operators can breathe a sigh of relief? Not necessarily. Once energy efficiency improvement goals have been attained, how do you maintain that level of efficiency over the lifecycle of your data center?

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