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C R ITI CAL POWE R AN D E N E R GY S O LUTI O N S 1 ❮❮

PURE POWER / / WINTER 2015


ew

FEATURES
Coordinating protective 8 ❮❮

contents
cover story
devices in mission
critical facilities
2 Understanding transfer A coordination study ensures that
switch operation the most reliable electrical system
has been installed. Applicable
Consulting engineers should understand codes and standards help
transfer switch construction, performance engineers get it right.
requirements, selection criteria, and
desired operation.
Reviewing, analyzing 14 ❮❮
NEC 2014 changes
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22 ❮❮
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Pure Power is published quarterly by CFE Media and is mailed as a supplement with Courtesy: JBA Consulting
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❯❯
PURE POWER // WINTER 2015
2 Cover Story

By Ryan Ishino, PE, RCDD, LEED AP, JBA Consulting Engineers, Irvine, Calif.

Understanding
transfer switch operation
Consulting engineers should understand transfer switch construction, performance requirements,
selection criteria, and desired operation to ensure that critical systems and equipment are supplied
with reliable backup power when needed.

W
hen utility power is BASIC TRANSFER SWITCH OPERATION
LEARNING OBJECTIVES interrupted, power Transfer switches are responsible for transitioning electri-
 Explain basic transfer switch system failure is cal power from the primary source to a secondary source
operation. not an option for in the event of primary source interruption, maintenance,
 Describe types of standby many facilities. Standby power or failure. The primary source most commonly consists of
systems and transfer switch systems have many components, the utility service. The secondary source typically consists
requirements. including transfer switches that of the backup or emergency power source. The sequence of
 Compare types of transfer must be designed correctly. Dur- operation typically occurs as follows:
switches and their operations. ing power transitions, transfer
 Evaluate transfer switch switch timing and sequence is 1. The primary source is interrupted or fails.
construction and performance critical to ensure proper system
requirements.
operation. Consulting engineers 2. When the secondary source is stable and within
must understand transfer switch voltage and frequency tolerances, the transfer switch
types, timing requirements, ratings, and the types of transitions to the secondary power source. This tran-
standby systems where transfer switches are used to sition can occur automatically or manually.
transfer to backup power. The basis of this article is
NFPA 70-2014: National Electrical Code (NEC) unless 3. When the primary source is restored and stabilized, the
otherwise noted. transfer switch transitions back to the primary source
and resumes under
normal operation.
This transition
back to the primary
source can occur
automatically or
manually.

Figure 1: The diagram


shows a common con-
figuration of one gen-
erator and three ATSs.
The separate transfer
switches segregate
the standby loads. All
graphics courtesy: JBA
Consulting Engineers

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Cover Story 3 ❮❮

PURE POWER // WINTER 2015


Figure 2: The diagram shows an open-transition transfer switch operation. The break-before-make operation ensures the switch will disconnect from the
primary source before connecting to the secondary source.

STANDBY SYSTEM TYPES approved by the AHJ. Transfer equipment shall be designed
Standby system types include emergency systems, legally and installed to prevent inadvertent, simultaneous connec-
required standby systems, optional standby systems, criti- tion of primary and secondary supplies of power. Power
cal operations power systems (COPS), and systems that must be transferred to the secondary source in 60 sec or less.
support health care facilities (see Figure 1). Optional standby systems (NEC Article 702): Optional
Emergency systems (NEC Article 700): Emergency sys- standby systems are defined by the NFPA as “intended
tems are defined by the NFPA as “intended to automatically to supply power to public or private facilities or property
supply illumination, power, or both, to designated areas where life safety does not depend on the performance of
and equipment in the event of failure of the normal supply the system.” These systems may include data processing
or in the event of accident to elements of a system intended and communication systems, and mission critical systems
to supply, distribute, and control power and illumination that are not legally required by the AHJ.
essential for safety to human life.” These systems may Transfer equipment, including transfer switches, for
include fire detection and alarm systems, elevators, fire optional standby systems are not restricted to the same
pumps, and egress lighting. requirements as emergency and legally required system
Transfer equipment, including transfer switches, are transfer equipment. However, transfer equipment shall
required to be automatic, identified for emergency use, and be designed and installed to prevent inadvertent, simul-
approved by the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ). Trans- taneous connection of primary and secondary supplies
fer equipment shall be designed and installed to prevent of power. There are no code requirements for power to
inadvertent, simultaneous connection of primary and sec- be transferred to the secondary source within a certain
ondary supplies of power. Transfer equipment shall supply time frame.
only emergency system loads. Power must be transferred to Critical operations power systems (COPS) (NEC Ar-
the secondary source in 10 sec or less. ticle 708): Interruptions or outages to designated critical
Legally required standby systems (NEC Article 701): operations areas may negatively impact national security,
Legally required standby systems are defined by the NFPA economy, public health, or safety. The requirement to
as “intended to automatically supply power to selected comply with NEC Article 708 is provided by any govern-
loads (other than those classed as emergency systems) in mental agency having jurisdiction or by a facility provid-
the event of failure of the normal source.” These systems ing documentation establishing the necessity for such a
may include heating and refrigeration systems, communi- system. These systems may include power systems, HVAC,
cations systems, ventilation and smoke removal systems, fire alarm, security, and communications in these areas.
and other processes that, when stopped in the event of pri- NFPA 1600-2013: Standard on Disaster/Emergency Manage-
mary source interruption, could create hazards or hamper ment and Business Continuity Programs contains further
rescue or firefighting operations. information on this topic.
Transfer equipment, including transfer switches, are Transfer equipment, including transfer switches, are
required to be automatic, identified for standby use, and required to be automatic and identified for standby use.

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PURE POWER // WINTER 2015
4 Cover Story

Figure 3: The diagram shows a closed-transition transfer switch operation. The make-before-break operation ensures the switch will connect to the
secondary source while connected to the primary source.

Transfer equipment shall be designed and installed to pre- This means that the transfer switch creates a connection
vent inadvertent, simultaneous connection of primary and to the secondary source while connected to the pri-
secondary supplies of power. mary source (see Figure 3). When the connection to the
Health care facilities (NEC Article 517): Essential elec- secondary source is established, the primary source will
trical systems for hospitals consist of the emergency system disconnect. This enables a continuous source of supply
and equipment system to supply a limited amount of light- to the electrical system as the two sources are paralleled
ing and power essential for life safety and effective hospital together. Paralleled (or interconnected) sources shall com-
operation when the normal service is disconnected. The ply with NEC Article 705: Interconnected Electric Power
number of transfer switches used “shall be based on reli- Production Sources, which addresses basic safety require-
ability, design, and load considerations” in accordance with ments related to parallel operation of generators and
NEC Article 517.30(B)(4). Each branch on the emergency normal/primary sources (commonly the utility service).
system and equipment system, respectively, shall have one Closed-transition switches transfer when both sources
or more transfer switches to serve the system loads. How- are synchronized in phase, voltage, and frequency. The
ever, one transfer switch shall be permitted in a facility length of the synchronization period where both sources
with a maximum demand on the essential electrical system are paralleled is usually limited by the utility company’s
of 150 kVA or less. NFPA 99-2015: Health Care Facilities interconnect agreement and requirements.
Code has additional requirements for transfer switch opera- Fast closed-transition transfer switches: Fast closed-
tion and features. transition transfer switches use a momentary paralleling
of sources (typically less than 100 msec) using a control
TRANSFER SWITCH TYPES system similar to the open-transition transfer switch
Transfer switch types include open-, closed-, fast closed-, system. Some fast closed-transition transfer switches use
soft closed-transition, and bypass/isolation. passive synchronization to sense the phase relationship
Open-transition transfer switches: Open-transition between the two live sources (in the event of parallel-
transfer is commonly described as “break-before-make.” ing) and allow interconnection of sources when they are
This means that the transfer switch disconnects from the synchronized. This is considered passive because there
primary source before establishing the connection to the is no direct control over the generator frequency, and the
secondary source (see Figure 2). There is a short-duration sources are paralleled for such a short duration of time.
electrical system outage during this transition. In addition, Although the intent is to not parallel the sources for an
open transition, by design, does not allow paralleling of extended amount of time, utility service providers com-
the two sources at the same time. Open-transition transfer monly require reverse-power relay protection to protect
switches are the most commonly-used type. They are less their systems from sustained paralleled operation. Fast
expensive than other options. closed-transition switches are more expensive than open-
Closed-transition transfer switches: Closed-transition transition switches but less expensive than soft closed-
transfer is commonly described as “make-before-break.” transition switches.

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Cover Story 5 ❮❮

PURE POWER // WINTER 2015


Soft closed-transition transfer switches: Soft closed- Nonessential loads can also be provided with priority
transition transfer switches use an automatic synchronizer steps in the event there is additional available capacity on
to enable the generator to synchronize with the utility the backup system after the aforementioned higher priori-
service and transfer the loads. The transfer time may vary ties have been addressed. Paralleling switchgear systems
from seconds to several minutes, usually depending on typically can be programmed to provide many sophisticat-
requirements of the utility provider. During this process, ed functions, such load shed, generator off-loading, utility
there is a sustained duration of paralleled operation be- soft transfers, high-level metering, and load maintenance
tween the two sources. As such, voltage and frequency dis- functions. However, these functions can increase the costs
ruptions are typically reduced due to the gradual transfer significantly and usually require a higher level of technical
of loads between sources. Similar to fast closed-transition operations personnel to maintain them over their lifetime.
switches, utility service providers commonly require a
higher level of relay protection and approvals to implement TRANSFER SWITCH OPERATION
this type of system. Transfer switch operation occurs based on the initiation
Bypass/isolation transfer switches: As the name implies, and transfer processes. The initiation process is what iden-
bypass or isolation capabilities may be provided to the tifies that the transfer needs to occur. This event may con-
transfer systems listed above to bypass sist of a loss of, or inconsistent voltage
the primary transfer switch compo- from, the primary source. The transfer
nents without interrupting power to Transfer switch operation is the process of shifting load from
the facility. The secondary switching the secondary or alternate source, and
component offers inherent redundancy occurs based on the initiation vice versa.
and increases reliability. This enables
transfer switch maintenance without and transfer processes. The Automatic: In automatic mode, the
transfer switch controller manages the
shutting down equipment as well. By-
pass/isolation capabilities are typically initiation process is what entire process, and initiation begins
when the controller senses a loss of
specified for highly critical equipment
or continuous loads where a loss of
identifies that the transfer the primary source. The controller
monitors the source voltage and sends
power is detrimental to the perfor-
mance of the facility or operations.
needs to occur. a command to the generators to run
when the voltage falls below a preset
However, bypass/isolation capabili- limit for a prescribed time frame. The
ties typically add a significant cost to the system and add controller also monitors the secondary source voltage and
additional space requirements to accommodate the extra frequency, and when these values are within acceptable
equipment. limits, the switch transfers the load from the primary to
the secondary source. When the primary source has been
PARALLELING SWITCHGEAR reestablished for a prescribed time to ensure stability, the
Paralleling switchgear is typically used to combine multiple switch may automatically transfer the load back to the
power sources (commonly two or more generators) and primary source. Most critical and life safety loads require
connect to a common bus to use the aggregate capacity of automatic operation as defined by the NEC.
the sources (see Figure 4). The power sources must be syn- Nonautomatic: In nonautomatic mode, the transfer
chronized where the frequency, voltage, phase angle, and switch is manually initiated by an operator and then an
phase rotation are within prescribed limits and the sources internal device within the switch equipment operates the
can be paralleled together. Paralleling switchgear may use transfer switch by electric operation. The operator has the
motorized circuit breakers and programmable logic con- ability to determine when to initiate the load transfer, but
trollers to operate and prioritize distribution loads, and, the actual transfer operation is electrically actuated.
as such, this configuration may not require stand-alone Manual: In manual mode, the entire process is com-
transfer switches to transfer loads. However, some AHJs pleted manually by an operator. There is not typically a
may require separate transfer switches for loads dictated controller, voltage-sensing equipment, or electrical mecha-
by NEC Articles 700 and 701 for complete segregation of nism used to operate the load transfer. Manual switches are
systems; the AHJ should be consulted for acceptable and the most basic types of transfer switch and are common in
approved system configurations. Load maintenance and noncritical facilities or applications.
priorities can be established to ensure that highest priori-
ties, such as emergency, legally required, and optional TRANSFER SWITCH CONSTRUCTION,
standby loads, are provided with standby/backup power PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS
within specified time frames to comply with transfer Codes and standards, such as UL 1008-8: Transfer Switch
requirements. Equipment, UL 1008A-1: Standard for Medium-Voltage

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❯❯
PURE POWER // WINTER 2015
6 Cover Story

Transfer Switches, and NFPA 110-2016: Standard for Emer- NFPA 110: NFPA 110 is commonly applied and adopted
gency and Standby Power Systems provide transfer switch within the U.S. Chapter 6 of the standard includes require-
construction and performance requirements. ments for transfer switch equipment. Requirements in the
UL 1008: UL 1008 is the most commonly applied and standard related to automatic transfer switch (ATS) features
adopted standard to address transfer switch construction specify that their capabilities must include:
and testing in the U.S. This standard applies to automatic,
manual or nonautomatic, closed transition, hybrid, fire  Electrical operation and mechanical holding

 Transfer and retransfer of the load automatically

 Visual annunciation when not in automatic mode.

Chapter 6 also requires that “the transfer switch shall


be capable of withstanding the available fault current
at the point of installation.” In addition, “the transfer
switch shall have a continuous current rating and inter-
rupting rating for all classes of loads to be served.” The
electrical rating of the transfer switch shall be sized ap-
propriately for the total connected load.
NFPA 110 includes requirements for source monitor-
ing, such as undervoltage sensing devices, to monitor
all ungrounded lines of the primary source, voltage- and
frequency-sensing equipment to monitor one unground-
ed line, and to ensure that transfer to the secondary
source is inhibited until voltage and frequency are
within specified limits.
Time-delay devices are provided to delay the transfer
process to avoid nuisance starting and load transfer based
on transient power dips or momentary disturbances to the
Figure 4: The photo shows paralleling switchgear equipment that serves primary source. An adjustable time-delay device shall be
a large hospitality venue in Las Vegas. The property used paralleling provided to delay the load-transfer process to avoid exces-
switchgear to combine electrical capacity from multiple generators while sive system voltage drop for use where the failure of opera-
providing load management and transfer. tion of equipment could result in injury or loss of human
life. In addition, another adjustable time-delay device (with
pump transfer switches, bypass/isolation switches, and automatic bypass) shall be provided to delay transfer from
several others. However, this standard does not specifically the secondary source (typically the emergency power sup-
address switches rated higher than 600 V. ply) to the primary source and to allow the primary source
UL 1008 includes requirements that address construc- to restabilize.
tion and performance of the transfer switch equipment.
The construction requirements within the standard STAYING IN POWER
include, but are not limited to, the enclosure equipment, Understanding transfer switch construction and perfor-
field and internal wiring of the components, and installa- mance requirements, in addition to selecting the proper
tion of the equipment. transfer switch types and desired operation for the specific
The performance and testing requirements include, but standby systems served, will help ensure that critical
are not limited to, withstand and closing rating, overvolt- systems and equipment are supplied with reliable backup
age/undervoltage, overload, temperature, and endurance power when they are needed.
tests. These tests and construction requirements demon-
strate that the transfer switch equipment should be depend- ABOUT THE AUTHOR
able and reliable when the transfer operation is necessary. Ryan Ishino is the associate director of electrical for the
UL 1008A: Similarly, UL 1008A contains requirements Orange County office at JBA Consulting Engineers in Irvine,
for automatic, nonautomatic, and manual transfer switches Calif. He has experience in multiple market sectors includ-
with operation higher than 750 V and up to 46 kV. The ing hospitality, commercial, health care, education, and
requirements within the standard cover the transfer switch central plant design.
and associated control devices and relays.

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PURE POWER // WINTER 2015
8 Protective Device Coordination

By Keith Lane, PE, RCDD, NTS, RTPM, LC, LEED AP BD+C,


and Scott Coburn; Lane Coburn & Associates LLC, Bothell, Wash.

Coordinating
protective devices
in mission critical facilities
A coordination study ensures that the most reliable electrical system has been installed.
Applicable codes and standards help engineers get it right.

A
sudden power failure will have a dramatic effect device. A thermal magnetic breaker may have no adjust-
on business, especially in a critical environment. ment at all, or only minimal adjustment to the instanta-
Isolating a fault condition to the smallest area neous region, whereas a fully adjustable electronic trip
possible is essential in providing the most reliable breaker may have many.
electrical system with maximum uptime for your facility. Adjustment of these parameters allows for what is re-
Expensive electronic distribution protection equipment is ferred to as “curve shaping.” Curve shaping enables better
not worth the extra cost unless a proper protective-device coordination between upstream and downstream overcur-
coordination study is provided by an experienced engineer. rent-protection devices. Typical parameters include:
NFPA 70-2014: National Electrical Code (NEC) defi nes
selective coordination as: “Localization of an overcurrent  Overload region (long time trip unit): This is the long
condition to restrict outages to the circuit or equipment time trip setting of an overcurrent protective device.
affected, accomplished by the selection and installation This parameter, also known as continuous amperes, is
of overcurrent protective devices a percentage of the breaker’s nominal rating.
and their ratings or settings
LEARNING OBJECTIVES for the full range of available  Long time delay: This setting allows for inrush from
 Illustrate the basics of overcurrents, from overload to motors to pass without tripping the breaker. This set-
protective-device coordination
the maximum available fault ting affects the position of the I2t slope just below the
studies.
current, and for the full range continuous-current setting.
 Outline elevator protection
of overcurrent protective device
coordination as required per
the NEC. opening times associated with  Short-time pickup: This setting is typically provided
those overcurrents.” with an adjustment of 5 to 10 times the inrush cur-
 Apply NEC Article 517 and
ground-fault coordination In other words, a properly rent. This setting allows downstream overcurrent-
studies required for health care coordinated system will limit protection devices to clear faults without tripping
facilities. disconnection to the nearest upstream devices. This setting can also be adjusted to
upstream protective device. allow for transformer inrush current.

 Short time delay, instantaneous override: This set-


PROTECTIVE-DEVICE COORDINATION ting postpones the short-time pickup. Setting this pa-
STUDY BASICS rameter can be done on a fi xed setting or an I2t ramp
The main types of overcurrent protection used in mis- setting. This allows for better coordination between
sion critical environments are circuit breakers, fuses, and upstream and downstream devices. An instantaneous
relays. This article focuses on circuit breakers and fuses. override can be set at high-current value to override
Relays are not addressed due to space constraints. this function and to protect electrical equipment. The
Depending on the circuit breaker type, there may be I2t function of the short time delay can provide better
several parameters that can be selected for each protective coordination when coordinating a breaker with a fuse.

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Protective Device Coordination 9 ❮❮

PURE POWER // WINTER 2015


Current in Amperes

 Instantaneous: This setting will trip the


0.5 1 10 100 1K 10K
overcurrent-protective device with no inten-
XF2-0003 1,000
tional delay. PD-0007
FDE/FDCE/HFDE
FDCE
Trip 225 A
 Ground fault setting (ground fault trip Plug 225 A
Settings phase
unit): This is the percentage of the rating Ir, 225 A sensor H (225) (225 A)
LTD (2-24 sec) 20
of the breaker for the ground fault setting. STPU (2-12 x Ir) 12 (2,700 A)
100
STD flat (instantaneous-300 msec)
According to the NEC, ground fault cannot instantaneous (J, K, L)
Instantaneous or fixed (2,700 A)
exceed 1,200 A, regardless of the size of

Time in seconds
PD-0008
the breaker. HLD, RMS
HLD
Trip 600 A
Plug 600 A 10
 Ground fault delay: This setting allows for Settings phase
Plug adjust (300-600
a time delay before ground fault pickup. A) 500 A (500 A)
LTD (fixed) fixed
This allows for better selective coordina- STPU (2-8 x LTPU)
7 (3,500 A)
tion between multiple levels of ground fault STD (instantaneous-
300 msec) 100
protection. In addition, the time delay cannot msec (I2t on) 1
Instantaneous (5,500
exceed 1 sec (60 cycles) for ground-fault cur- A) fixed (5,500 A)
rents of 3,000 A or more.
XF2-0003
 Reduced arc flash mode: This setting allows Inrush factor 10
TX inrush Inrush time 0.1 sec
the breaker to be manually taken out of PD-0009 0.10
J250 E/S/H
coordination for short periods of time during Trip 50 A
Plug 50 A
maintenance to reduce the arc flash hazards Settings phase
Ir, 100 A sensor C (50) (50 A)
on the system. LTD, (2-24 sec) 24
STPU, (2-12 x Ir) 12 (600 A)
DTD, (flat) fixed (700 A)
0.01
When performing electrical engineering stud-
ies for mission critical environments, the required
documentation includes:
Figure 1: The TCC graph (above) and
 Description, rating, make, and Type FDE/FDCE/HFDE one-line diagram (left) indicate a 150-kVA
Sensor/trip 225 A
catalog numbers of protective Setting LTPU H (225) (225 A) transformer protected by a 225-A circuit
devices PD-0007 breaker. The “Tx” refers to the transformer
inrush in red. The 225-A breaker curve
 Full-load current at the protec- CBL-0006 is represented by the blue curve. This
tive device (3-phase and line-to- breaker curve is to the right of the “Tx,”
ground) ensuring that the transformer inrush will
XF2-0003
not trip the breaker during system startup.
 Transformer kVA, impedance, CBL-0007 The red curves on the top of the graph
and inrush current data and represent the transformer damage curves.
Type HLD, RMS 310
connection type (delta-wye, etc.) Sensor/trip 600 A The breaker should be as far to the left
PD-0008 Setting LTPU 500 A (500 A)
of the damage curves as possible. The
BUS-0012
 Available fault current at the green breaker is in series with the blue
protective device PD-0009 PD-0010 breaker for this reason. The breakers do
Type J250 E/S/H, DT 310+ Type J250 E/S/H, DT 310+
not have to fully coordinate because loss
 Cable and conductor sizes Sensor/trip 50 A
Setting LTPU C (50) (50 A)
Sensor/trip 50 A
Setting LTPU C (50) (50 A)
of either breaker will have the same effect
on downstream loads. The breaker shown
 Protective-device design require- in purple has to fully coordinate with the
ments from the serving utility green breaker because there is a breaker in parallel with it (PD-0010). If
not coordinated, a short downstream of the purple breaker could trip the
 Voltage at each bus. green breaker. If this was to happen, power would be lost on the PD-0010
breaker. All graphics courtesy: Lane Coburn & Associates

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❯❯
PURE POWER // WINTER 2015
10 Protective Device Coordination

It is common today to perform complicated electrical Article 620-62. Figure 2 shows an example of a coordi-
protection coordination studies with computer software. nation study illustrating the feeder-breaker overcurrent
These software platforms typically contain libraries that protection, the elevator fuse overcurrent protection, and the
include most of the common overcurrent protective devices elevator motor startup curves.
and their available adjustments. The study must ensure that the two fuses will trip in a
After the aforementioned critical information is typed fault condition in any one of the separate elevator feeders
into the software database, the function of protective de- and will not trip the 200-A main breaker. A fault in one of
vices can be graphically presented. The resulting graphic the elevator feeders that takes out the main breaker would
representation is called a time-current curve (TCC). When essentially take out both elevators.
more than one electrical device is overlaid on one graph,
the relationship of the characteristics among the devices is GROUND FAULT STUDIES FOR
presented. Any potential issue, such as overlapping of curves HEALTH CARE FACILITIES
or long time intervals between devices, are illustrated. Fault- NEC Article 517.17 requires that if ground fault protection
current conditions can be illustrated by indicating on the is provided for service disconnecting means, an additional
current scale the maximum and minimum value of short- step of ground-fault protection shall be provided in the next
circuit currents (3-phase and line-to-ground) that can occur level of feeder disconnecting means downstream toward
at various points in the circuit (see Figure 1). the load (see Figure 3). There is clear separation between
the ground-fault curves.
ELEVATOR PROTECTION NEC Article 230.95 indicates that all 480 V, 3-phase
COORDINATION PER THE NEC services rated 1,000 A and higher must be installed with
Selective coordination is required when more than one a ground fault relay. The setting of the ground fault relay
elevator is supplied by a common feeder, according to NEC cannot exceed 1,200 A regardless of the size of the over-
current-protection device. In addition, the time
delay cannot exceed 1 sec (60 cycles) for ground
Current in Amperes
Utility 0001
1,000
EV breaker
CHKD
CHKD
Trip 250 A
Settings phase EV breaker
LTPU (A-H) F (200) (200 A) Type CHKD
LTD (2-24s) 15 Sensor/trip 250 A
100 STPU (2-12 x Ir) 12 (2,400 A) Setting LTPU F (200) (200 A)
STD flat (instantaneous-300 msec)
300 msec (P, Q, R)
Instantaneous of fixed (4,400 A)

Type FRS, 600 V, Class K5 70 AF 100 AF Type FRS, 600 V, Class K5


Sensor/trip 70 A Sensor/trip 100 A
10
Time in seconds

Setting LTPU Setting LTPU


CBL-0002
100 AF
CBL-0001
FRS, 600 V, Class K5
FRS
Trip 100 A
15 hp 30 hp

1 70 AF
FRS, 600 V, Class K5
FRS
Trip 70 A Figure 2: The TCC graph (left) and one-line diagram
(above) show an example of a coordination study
Rated horsepower 30 hp illustrating feeder breaker and elevator fuse over-
0.10 current protection as well as elevator motor startup
Rated horsepower 20 hp curves. A 200-A breaker in the main distribution
gear feeds an elevator control panel with 100-A
and 70-A fuses. The study must ensure that the two
fuses will trip in a fault condition in any one of the
0.01 separate elevator feeders and will not trip the 200-A
0.5 1 10 100 1K 10K main breaker. A fault in one of the elevator feeders
Reference voltage: 208 V Current in Amperes x 10 that takes out the main breaker would essentially
take out both elevators.

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Protective Device Coordination 11 ❮❮

PURE POWER // WINTER 2015


fault currents of 3,000 A or higher. There shall be
a minimum of 0.1 sec (6 cycles) of ground-fault Current in Amperes
delay between ground fault devices in health
1,000
care facilities.
PD-0004
Ground fault settings for main breakers serv- CRDC, RMS 510/610/810
CRDC
ing downstream motors that are set too low or Trip 2,500 A
Plug 2,500 A
too fast may trip a main overcurrent-protection Settings phase
GFPU (800-1,200 A plugs)
device before tripping the local thermal-magnetic 100 D (1,000 A)
GFD (instantaneous-500
overcurrent-protection device during motor- msec) 300 msec (I t off)
2

starting ground faults. On the other hand, ground


fault settings that are too high can cause undue
PD-0005
damage before a ground fault is interrupted. It is CHKD, RMS 310
CHKD
important to provide the ground fault setting that 10 Trip 400 A

Time in seconds
Plug 400 A
will not permit nuisance tripping, but will protect Settings phase
GFPU (1x Ig) 0.61 (244 A)
the electrical equipment from excessive damage GFD (instantaneous-500
msec) 300 msec (I t off)
2

during an event.
Sometimes, perfect coordination between a
set of devices cannot be obtained. Certain set- 1
tings may be required on a breaker that could
affect the settings of many breakers. In some
cases, there may be many levels of breakers that
may cause overlap of the breaker curves within
0.10
the tolerance of the curves. It is at these times
that experience will allow engineers to make
judgment calls regarding certain compromises in
coordination between devices. The engineering
behind providing protective coordination studies 0.01
is not a perfect science. It is important to ensure 0.5 1 10 100 1K 10K
that protection is not compromised, even if per-
Reference voltage: 208 V Current in Amperes x 10
fect coordination is not achieved.
On many occasions, projects are completed
without protective-device studies. In such cases, Figure 3: This TCC graph illustrates the ground-fault setting for a 2,500-A main breaker
the breaker manufacturer will ship the break- and the ground-fault setting for a 400-A sub-breaker. There is clear separation between
ers with all settings set to the most sensitive. the ground fault curves. A ground fault on the 400-A feeder would trip the 400-A
This will ensure the most protection, but will breaker before tripping the 2,500-A main breaker. If the 2,500-A main breaker trips, the
increase false trips and is typically not good for entire system will go down—not just the 400-A feeder.
the reliability and uptime of the systems. As soon
as the owner complains of a false trip, the facility person- NEC Article 100, Definitions: Coordination (selective):
nel will probably set all of the dials to least sensitive. This Localization of an overcurrent condition to restrict outages
will reduce false trips, but may not adequately protect the to the circuit or equipment affected, accomplished by the
electrical system and could also reduce selective coordina- choice of overcurrent protective devices and their ratings
tion of the system. and settings.
A coordination study is typically required to ensure that
the most reliable electrical system has been installed. In NEC Article 700.27, Coordination: Emergency system
addition, there are instances where the NEC requires that a overcurrent devices shall be selectively coordinated with
study be performed. In either case, the cost of a coordination all supply-side overcurrent protective devices.
study is pretty cheap insurance for most installations that
would be adversely affected by an extensive power outage. NEC Article 701.18, Coordination: Legally required
standby system overcurrent devices shall be selectively coor-
CODE-RELATED ISSUES dinated with all supply-side overcurrent protective devices.
To understand code-related issues involved in selective
coordination studies, it is important to quote the new defi- NEC Article 517.26, Application of Other Articles: The
nition of selective coordination and the new codes in NEC essential electrical system shall meet the requirements of
Articles 100, 517, 700, and 701. Article 700, except as amended by Article 517.

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❯❯
PURE POWER // WINTER 2015
12 Protective Device Coordination

For clarity, it is important to include the NEC definition ARC FLASH MITIGATION VIA NONCOORDINATION
(Article 100) of overcurrent and the fine print notes (FPNs) The NEC also includes information to help minimize the
defining emergency systems and legally required standby risk of an arc flash incident.
loads in Articles 700 and 701. NEC-2014 Article 240.87, Arc Energy Reduction: Where
Overcurrent: Any current in excess of the rated cur- the highest continuous-current trip setting for which the
rent of the equipment or ampacity of the conductor. It may actual overcurrent device installed in a circuit breaker
result from overload, short circuit, or ground fault. is rated, or can be adjusted, is 1,200 A or higher, Article
It is significant to note that a “short circuit” is listed as 240.87(A) and (B) shall apply:
one of the items that can cause an overcurrent condition.
The typical molded-case circuit breaker combination with  (A) Documentation shall be available to those autho-
the upstream breaker that is somewhat larger than the rized to design, install, operate, or inspect the installa-
downstream breaker does not have a problem coordinating tion as to the location of the circuit breaker.
in the overload area of the TCC, but a high level of current
in the short-circuit area of the TCC can present significant  (B) As a method to reduce clearing time, one of the
problems to selective coordination. following or approved equivalent means shall be
NEC Article 700.1, FPN No. 3: Emergency systems are provided:
generally installed in places of assembly where artificial (1) Zone-selective interlocking
illumination is required for safe exit and panic control. (2) Differential relaying
Emergency systems may also provide power for such (3) Energy-reducing maintenance switching with
functions as ventilation, fi re detection and alarm systems, local status indicator
elevators, fi re pumps, public safety communication, and (4) Energy-reducing active arc flash mitigation
industrial processes. system
NEC Article 701.2, FPN: Legally required standby (5) An approved equivalent means.
systems are typically installed to serve loads—such as
heating and refrigeration systems, communication sys- A method for complying with this code section is to
tems, sewage disposal, lighting systems, and industrial provide breakers that have a reduced arc flash mode (RAM)
processes—that, when stopped during any interruption of setting. Most major switchgear manufacturers are providing
normal electrical supply, could create a hazard or hamper RAM in their breakers to enable compliance with this new
rescue or fi refighter operations. code section. While each manufacturer may have a different
Elevators are noted in Article 700.1 as an emergency twist on the solution, the basic principal is the same: provide
system load. Some jurisdictions also consider elevators to a temporary setting where the breaker will trip faster in a
be a legally required standby load. In either case, the NEC fault condition. While this RAM system is effective in reduc-
has required elevators in certain situations to be selective- ing the arc flash hazard, it may take all or some of the break-
ly coordinated for some time. This selective coordination ers downstream from the RAM breaker out of coordination
has been required by NEC Article 620.62. and increase the risk of losing critical loads.
NEC Article 620.62, Selective Coordination: Where It is always recommended that all systems be powered
more than one driving-machine disconnecting means is down prior to personnel working on electrical equipment.
supplied by a single feeder, the overcurrent protective However, in mission critical facilities qualified profession-
device in each disconnecting means shall be selectively als may need to access and work near energized equip-
coordinated with any other supply-side overcurrent pro- ment. Testing, troubleshooting, and diagnostics may
tective devices. require that power remain on to complete the task when
NEC Article 240.6 (C) Restricted-Access Adjustable removing power is infeasible.
Trip Circuit Breakers: A circuit breaker that has restricted
access to the adjusting means shall be permitted to have
an ampere rating that is equal to the adjusted current set- ABOUT THE AUTHORS
ting (long-time pickup setting). Restricted access shall be Keith Lane is president/CEO of Lane Coburn & Associates.
defi ned as located behind one of the following: He is a member of the Consulting-Specifying Engineer
editorial advisory board and is a 2008 40 Under 40 award
 Removable and sealable covers over the winner.
adjusting means Scott Coburn is principal of Lane Coburn & Associates. He
oversees design constructability to ensure the highest level of
 Bolted equipment-enclosure doors construction documents. He is the co-founder of the
Neher-McGrath Institute and Neher-McGrath.com.
 Locked doors accessible only to qualified personnel.

www.csemag.com/purepower
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without permission. www.cat.com www.caterpillar.com
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PURE POWER // WINTER 2015
14 NEC 2014 Changes

By Robert C. Corson, PE; and Philip M. Grenci, PE;


Triad Consulting Engineers Inc., Morris Plains, N.J.

Reviewing, analyzing
NEC 2014 changes
Changes in and additions to the NFPA 70: National Electrical Code (NEC) have a significant
impact on commercial and industrial facilities.

E
very 3 yr, NFPA 70-2014: National Electrical Code in wind turbine and photovoltaic (PV) systems. The voltage
(NEC) is updated and released. However, not all increase affects numerous articles including 240, 250, 300,
states immediately adopt the new code changes. The 430, 490, 690, 692, and 694.
adoption by many states doesn’t typically occur until While many of these changes are purely editorial in na-
the year after the latest version is released. ture, the change in the transformer protection table, Table
According to NFPA, there were 3,745 proposals submitted 450.3(A), compels system designers to use smaller overcur-
recommending changes to the 2014 rent-protective devices (OCPDs) for protecting transformer
edition of the NEC. In addition, primaries when within the 600- to 1,000-V range. Although
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
there were 1,625 comments con- there are no standard operating voltages within this range,
 Outline NFPA 70: National
Electrical Code (NEC). cerning the NEC Code-Making Pan- this predominantly affects renewable energy sources,
els’ responses to these proposals. which can connect at voltages not commonly seen in stan-
 Analyze the updates and
changes to the most recent dard distribution. It should also be noted that this reduc-
edition of the NEC. OVERALL IMPACT tion in OCPD sizing facilitates in the mitigation of arc flash
 Compare and contrast each of OF CODE CHANGES hazards, which have been in the spotlight for safety aware-
the new items in NFPA 70-2014. There are several new articles as ness and recent code changes. Transformers are typically a
well as some noteworthy changes location of elevated incident-energy levels, and faster OCPD
included in the 2014 tripping can reduce incident-energy levels.
edition of the NEC.
Some changes have IMPACT ON COMMERCIAL
had a significant AND INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES
impact on the elec- Some of the code additions and modifications have substantial
trical trade. An ex- impact on commercial and industrial facilities. The following
ample is a codewide list describes, in sequence, seven changes in NEC 2014 that
change to raise the have a high impact on commercial and industrial systems:
maximum voltage
level from 600 V to 1. Dedicated equipment space
more than 1,000 V,
primarily driven by 2. Ground-fault protection (GFP)
the higher voltages
3. Conductor sizing
Figure 1: This diagram
illustrates outdoor dedi- 4. Arc energy reduction
cated-equipment space
extending 6 ft above the 5. Surge protection
width and depth of the
equipment. All graphics 6. Selective coordination requirements and health care
courtesy: Triad Consulting
Engineers Inc. 7. Solar system rapid-shutdown systems.

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NEC 2014 Changes 15 ❮❮

PURE POWER // WINTER 2015


Current in Amperes

0.5 1 10 100 1K 10K


1,000

Worst case
Arc fault
(Maintenance mode “off”)

Worst case 100


Arc fault
(Maintenance mode “on”)

Time in seconds
Main circuit breaker with 10
maintenance mode off
Trip 4,000 A
Plug 4,000 A
Settings phase
LTPU 1 (4,000 A)
LTD 30
STPU 6 (24,000 A)
STD I2t 0.25 (12t out) 1

Main circuit breaker with


Figure 2: This single-line diagram shows the ground-fault protection now maintenance mode on
Trip 4,000 A
0.10
required on feeders. Plug 4,000 A
Settings phase
LTPU 1 (4,000 A) 46,515 A
LTD 3
More details on seven of the changes follow. Instantaneous 2 (8,000 A)

0.01
1. DEDICATED EQUIPMENT SPACE
Current scale x 100 Reference voltage: 480
NEC 2014 change—Article 110: Requirements for Electri-
cal Installations; Section 110.26(E) Dedicated Equipment
Space, (2). Outdoor: Figure 3: The time-current curve shows a circuit breaker with mainte-
Outdoor installations shall comply with 110.26(E)(2)(a) nance-mode settings.
and (b).
Subsection (b), Dedicated Equipment Space: The space process where an unorderly shutdown will introduce ad-
equal to the width and depth of the equipment and extend- ditional or increased hazards.
ing from grade to a height of 1.8 m (6 ft) above the equip- Exception No. 2—The provisions of this section shall
ment shall be dedicated to the electrical installation. No not apply if ground-fault protection of equipment is pro-
piping or other equipment foreign to the electrical installa- vided on the supply side of the branch circuit and on
tion shall be located in this zone. the load side of any transformer supplying the branch
Analysis of change—As with indoor equipment, dedi- circuit.
cated space is now required for installation of outdoor Prior to this addition to the NEC, GFP was only re-
equipment (see Figure 1). This is clarified in the code quired on each service disconnect rated 1,000 A or more.
to pertain to all switchboards, switchgear, panelboards, Now, GFP is required on each branch circuit with dis-
and motor control centers. This removes the gray area of connects rated 1,000 A or more (see Figure 2). As before,
interpretation and clarifies the issue for design engineers, this applies to solidly grounded wye electrical systems of
contractors, and the authorities having jurisdiction. more than 150 V to ground. Therefore, 208 Y/120 V sys-
tems are still exempt from GFP. Because the maximum
2. GROUND-FAULT PROTECTION setting of the ground-fault protective device on the main
NEC 2014 change—Article 210: Branch Circuits; Section is still limited to 1,200-A pickup with a 1-sec delay (for
210.13 Ground-Fault Protection of Equipment: ground faults exceeding 3,000 A only) per Article 230.95,
Each branch-circuit disconnect rated at 1,000 A or more this will require coordination between the settings of the
and installed on solidly grounded wye electrical systems of GFP on the feeders or branch circuits with the ground-
more than 150 V to ground, but not exceeding 600 V phase- fault protective device on the main disconnect.
to-phase, shall be provided with ground-fault protection of Analysis of change—The intent of this code addition is
equipment in accordance with the provisions of 230.95. to mitigate fires commonly associated with ground faults.
Informational note—For buildings that contain health This is because they have a tendency to burn until the
care occupancies, see the requirements of Article 517.17. event propagates into a more severe incident, eventually
Exception No. 1—The provisions of this section shall not causing an open circuit—whether by tripping of upstream
apply to a disconnecting means for a continuous industrial protective devices or equipment burn-down.

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❯❯
PURE POWER // WINTER 2015
16 NEC 2014 Changes

Feeder conductors shall


Generator
have an ampacity not less
Current in Amperes Generator circuit breaker
G
NW 40 H than required to supply the
4,000 AF/4,000 AS
0.5 1 10 100 1K 10K Phase load as calculated in Parts
LTPU (A); LTD; 0.625
2,339 A 1,000 (2,500 A); 8 III, IV, and V of Article 220.
STPU 4 (10,000 A)
STD 0.2 (I t out)
2
Conductors shall be sized to
Instantaneous (NW 40 L,
50 L, 60 L) 8 (32,000 A) carry not less than the larger
Ground
GFPU (500-1,200A) J (1,200 A) of 215.2(A)(1)(a) or (b).
100 GFD (0-0.4) 0.4 (I t out)
2

(a) Where a feeder sup-


Generator distribution switchgear
Gen SC
plies continuous loads or any

Time in seconds
ATS feeder circuit breaker combination of continuous
1,600 AF/1,600 AS
10 Plug 1,600 A and noncontinuous loads, the
Generator Phase
LTPU 1 (1,600 A) minimum feeder conductor
Generator circuit LTD 45
breaker, phase
Devices are selective STPU 4.61 (7,376 A) size shall have an allowable
above 0.1 sec per STD-I2t 0.11 (I t out)
2
NEC Article 517 Instantaneous 15 (24,000 A) ampacity not less than the
ATS feeder circuit (health care facilities) 1 Ground
breaker, phase E N PU 0.36 (576 A) noncontinuous load plus
TD-I2t 0.2 (I t out)
2

Critical load circuit 125% of the continuous load.


breaker 1, phase Emergency distribution switchboard 1
(b) The minimum feeder
0.10
NC
Critical load circuit breaker 1
1,600 AF/1,200 AS
conductor size shall have an
Devices are not selective
per NEC Articles 700, 75,000 A
Phase
LTPU 0.75 (900 A)
allowable ampacity not less
701, and 708 (emergency
systems and COPS)
LTD 45
STPU 4.6 (5,520 A)
than the maximum load to
0.01
STD-I2t 0.07 (I t out)
2

Instantaneous 15 (18,000 A)
be served after the applica-
Ground
GFPU 0.26 (312 A)
tion of any adjustment or
Current scale x 100 Reference voltage: 480
TD-I2t 0.1 (I t out)
2
correction factors.
Analysis of change—The
Figure 4: The time-current curve and corresponding single-line diagram show the coordination and selectivity intent of this code change is to
requirements in NEC Articles 517, 700, 701, and 708. simplify the sizing of conduc-
tors. The changes clarify that the calculation procedure
3. CONDUCTOR SIZING for continuous versus noncontinuous loads are sepa-
NEC 2014 change—Article 210: Branch Circuits; Part II, rate from calculations in which ampacity or correction
Branch Circuit Ratings; Section 210.19 Conductors—Mini- factors (e.g., number of current-carrying conductors
mum Ampacity and Size: in a raceway and/or ambient temperature above 86 F)
Subsection (A), Branch Circuits Not More Than 600 are applied. After each method is calculated, the larger
V, (1) General: Branch-circuit conductors must have an conductor size shall be used. A similar change can be
ampacity of not less than the maximum load to be served. found in Section 230.42 for the minimum size and rating
Conductors shall be sized to carry not less than the larger of service-entrance conductors.
of Article 210.19(A)(1)(a) or (b). Example—The following is an example for a 200-A
(a) Where the branch circuit supplies continuous loads continuous load with three current-carrying conduc-
or any combination of continuous and noncontinuous tors in a single conduit, located in a boiler room with a
loads, the minimum branch-circuit conductor size shall temperature of 100 F:
have allowable ampacity not less than the noncontinuous
load plus 125% of the continuous load. Based on the Article 215.2(A)(1)(a) requirement:
(b) Minimum branch-circuit conductor size shall have
an allowable ampacity not less than the maximum load to  200 A x 1.25 = 250 A
be served after the application of any adjustment or correc-
tion factors.  Conductor size = 250-kcmil THWN copper, rated 255
Exception—If the assembly, including the overcurrent A at 75 C, based on Table 310.15(B)(16).
devices protecting the branch circuits, is listed for operation
at 100% of its rating, the allowable ampacity of the branch- Based on the Article 215.2(A)(1)(b) requirement:
circuit conductors shall be permitted to be not less than the
sum of the continuous load plus the noncontinuous load.  250-kcmil THWN copper, rated 255 A at 75 C
NEC 2014 change—ARTICLE 215: Feeders; Section 215.2
Minimum Rating and Size, (A) Feeders Not More than 600  100 F correction factor = 0.88 for 75 C insulation,
V, (1) General: based on Table 310.15(B)(2)(a)

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NEC 2014 Changes 17 ❮❮

PURE POWER // WINTER 2015


 200 A/0.88 = 227.3 A, which would require a 4/0 instantaneous-trip circuit breakers. While this facilitates
THWN copper conductor, rated 230 A at 75 C, based mitigating arc flash hazards, other more complicated meth-
on Table 310.15(B)(16). ods that have the potential to significantly reduce arc flash
incident energy were being avoided. The intent is to reduce
The larger of the two calculations is selected, requiring potential arcing time in larger equipment, which typically
a 250-kcmil conductor. presents an elevated arc flash hazard. One method is to
implement maintenance mode, in which the trip unit has
4. OVERCURRENT PROTECTION— a second group of settings that are configured to trip the
ARC ENERGY REDUCTION breaker significantly faster, depending on the fault current.
NEC 2014 change—Article 240: Overcurrent Protection; To increase personnel safety, coordination is typically sac-
Section 240.87 Arc Energy Reduction: rificed during the period in which the maintenance mode
Where the highest continuous-current trip setting for settings are engaged. Figure 3 illustrates the two groups of
which the actual overcurrent device installed in a circuit settings on a time-current curve in which the maintenance
breaker is rated, or can be adjusted, is 1,200 A or higher, mode settings have significantly reduced pickup currents
Article 240.87(A) and (B) shall apply. and time delays.
(A) Documentation shall be available to those autho- It is important to note that any circuit breaker in which
rized to design, install, operate, or inspect the installation the long-time pickup setting can be adjusted to 1,200 A is
as to the location of the circuit breakers. subjected to this code requirement. Simply dialing down
(B) Method to Reduce Clearing Time: One of the follow- breaker settings will result in noncompliance. In addition,
ing or approved equivalent means shall be provided: fused distribution is exempt due to the inherent current
limitation of fuses in high fault-current applications.
 Zone-selective interlocking
5. SURGE PROTECTION
 Differential relaying NEC 2014 change—Exception to 240.21(B)(1)(1)(b) and
240.21(C)(2)(1)(b):
 Energy-reducing maintenance switching with local Where listed equipment, such as a surge-protective
status indicator device (SPD), is provided with specific instructions on
minimum conductor sizing, the ampacity of the tap con-
 Energy-reducing active arc flash mitigation system ductors supplying that equipment shall be permitted to be
determined based on the manufacturer’s instructions.
 An approved equivalent means. Analysis of change—In previous code editions, it was
permissible to wire Type 1 SPDs before or after the service
Informational note No. 1—An energy-reducing main- entrance. While Type 1 units are considered to be self-pro-
tenance switch allows a worker to set a circuit breaker tected, many inspectors questioned whether the conduc-
trip unit to “no intentional delay” to reduce the clearing tors serving the SPD were considered to be protected as
time while the worker is working within an arc flash well. The 2011 code clarified this in two exceptions located
boundary as defi ned in NFPA 70E-2012: Standard for in Article 240, commonly referred to as the “Tap Rules.”
Electrical Safety in the Workplace, and then to set the These new exceptions allow for a direct connection of SPDs
trip unit back to a normal setting after the potentially without an OCPD for feeder taps and transformer second-
hazardous work is complete. ary taps with distances not exceeding 10 ft that are wired
Informational note No. 2—An energy-reducing active in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
arc flash mitigation system helps in reducing arcing dura- NEC 2014 change—ARTICLE 285: Surge-Protective
tion in the electrical distribution system. No change in the Devices 1,000 V or Less; Part II, Installation; Section 285.13,
circuit breaker or the settings of other devices is required Type 4 and Other Component-Type SPDs:
during maintenance when a worker is working within an Type 4 component assemblies and other component-
arc flash boundary as defined in NFPA 70E. type SPDs shall only be installed by the equipment
Analysis of change—Arc flash safety has been one of manufacturer.
the most rapidly evolving facets in the industry during Analysis of change—In the previous code editions, the
recent years. This code update further stresses the impor- application of Types 1, 2, and 3 SPDs were included, but
tance of arc flash mitigation techniques. Type 4 was not. The result was misapplication of Type 4
The arc energy reduction article was added to replace SPDs. Article 285.13 was added to prevent Type 4 SPDs
the previous Article 240.87: Noninstantaneous Trip, from being field-installed, as they do not comply with the
which was new to the 2011 NEC. To comply with the 2011 same mandatory safety features of Types 1, 2, or 3 SPDs.
code, many system designers were simply implementing They are intended to be selected by the equipment

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❯❯
PURE POWER // WINTER 2015
18 NEC 2014 Changes

A 6. SELECTIVE COORDINATION REQUIREMENTS


NEC 2014 changes—Article 100: Defi nitions:
Coordination (Selective)—Localization of an
overcurrent condition to restrict outages to the circuit
or equipment affected, accomplished by the selection
and installation of OCPDs and their ratings or settings
for the full range of available overcurrents, from over-
load to the maximum available fault current, and for
the full range of OCPD opening times associated with
those overcurrents.
Analysis of changes—First, the defi nition of
selective coordination was clarified in the 2014 NEC,
such that its application is for the full range of avail-
able overcurrents, from overload to the maximum
Figure 5: Rapid-PV-shutdown configurations to
de-energize controlled conductors at the point of B
common coupling (POCC) include UL 1741-compli-
ant with rapid-shutdown requirements within 10 ft of
the PV array (a); smart combiner box with switching
capabilities within 10 ft of the PV array (b); and UL
1741-compliant with rapid shutdown requirements
within 5 ft of a conduit entering the building (c).

manufacturer and to be part of the equip-


ment listing and the associated testing.
Type 4 units have exposed terminals and
are typically DIN-rail-mounted in an en-
closure, which makes them unsuitable for
an external installation.
NEC 2014 change—ARTICLE 700:
Emergency Systems; Part I. General; Section 700.8, Surge C
Protection:
A listed SPD shall be installed in all emergency-system
switchboards and panelboards.
Analysis of change—The new paragraph 700.8 in Article
700 requires surge protection for legally required emer-
gency systems. These systems automatically supply power
to designated emergency loads upon loss of utility (normal)
power. SPDs prevent damage to emergency control and
sensitive critical-load circuits.
Additional comments—Previous code editions did not
require SPDs. However, the industry applied them anyway
over time, as the potential for damage to sensitive electri-
cal circuits and subsequent downtime of critical systems
was evident. It was determined that SPDs were effective
in preventing damage to sensitive equipment from surges
and spikes. In 2005, Article 285 introduced the new term available fault current. Many system designers and
“SPD” while also using the old term “transient-voltage engineers interpreted that the selectivity requirement
surge suppressor (TVSS).” The name change emphasizes applied to a limited range of faults, instead of fully
the safety differences between a TVSS and an SPD as selective coordination.
specified in UL 1449-2014: Standard for Surge Protec- This stipulation was made to address the inherent dif-
tive Devices. Allowing sufficient time over the course of ficulties of coordinating OCPDs in the high fault current
several update cycles for the industry to adjust, the term range, specifically with circuit breakers. The complica-
TVSS was removed from Article 285. tion is a function of the operation and tolerances of the

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NEC 2014 Changes 19 ❮❮

PURE POWER // WINTER 2015


3-cycle rating associated with UL 489 breakers, resulting Analysis of change—This article of the NEC was
in overlap (or noncoordination) of trip curves and creat- updated to require coordination, including the life safety
ing difficulty in designing a fully selective system with branch, only up to 0.1 sec, to coincide with the require-
circuit breakers. ments that were established in the latest NFPA 99: Health
NEC 2014 changes—Selective coordination sections for: Care Facilities Code. Prior to this stipulation in the NEC,
Article 517 classified hospital essential systems as “emer-
 Article 620: Elevators, Dumbwaiters, Escalators, gency system,” which subjected it to the requirements of
Moving Walks, Platform Lifts, and Stairway Chair- selective coordination for the full range of overcurrents
lifts defi ned therein. This code change is further clarified
in Article 517.26, which states that these requirements
 Article 700: Emergency Systems include the life safety branch, in which it is stated that
the life safety branch is subjected to the requirements of
 Article 701: Legally Required Standby Systems Article 700, except as amended by Article 517.
This interesting development seems to indicate that
 Article 708: Critical Operations Power Systems the OCPD coordination of health care systems is not
(COPS). necessary as in other emergency or critical systems,
which do require fully selective
The following excerpt was added to
each selective-coordination section for Arc flash safety has coordination. This update was likely
endorsed by the committee to allow
the aforementioned articles: for circuit breakers in hospital distri-
“Selective coordination shall be se- been one of the most bution systems, which typically have
lected by a licensed professional engi- issues being fully selective after the
neer or other qualified person engaged rapidly evolving facets 0.1-sec range.
primarily in the design, installation, or Figure 4 illustrates a time-current
maintenance of electrical systems. The
selection shall be documented and made
in the industry during curve and its corresponding single-line
diagram in which the coordination and
available to those authorized to design,
install, inspect, maintain, and operate
recent years. selectivity requirements associated
with Articles 517, 700, 701, and 708 are
the system.” depicted.
Analysis of changes—The primary reason for the ad-
dition of this excerpt to the various articles of the NEC 7. PV RAPID-SHUTDOWN SYSTEMS
that require selective coordination was to assign respon- NEC 2014 change—Article 690: Solar Photovoltaic
sibility. By clarifying that a licensed professional engi- (PV) systems; Part II, Circuit Requirements; Section
neer must perform this task, it limits unqualified person- 690.12, Rapid Shutdown of PV Systems on Buildings:
nel from performing the analysis, and it allows electrical PV system circuits installed on or in buildings shall
inspectors to enforce the code by simply reviewing the include a rapid-shutdown function that controls specific
documentation already prepared by the engineer. conductors in accordance with Article 690.12(1) through
(5) as follows:
SELECTIVE COORDINATION IN HOSPITALS
NEC 2014 change—Article 517.30: Essential Electrical 1. Requirements for controlled conductors shall apply
Systems for Hospitals; (G) Coordination: only to PV system conductors of more than 1.5 m
OCPDs serving the essential electrical system shall be (5 ft) in length inside a building, or more than 3 m
coordinated for the period of time that a fault’s duration (10 ft) from a PV array.
extends beyond 0.1 sec.
Exception No. 1—Between transformer primary and 2. Controlled conductors shall be limited to not more
secondary OCPDs where only one OCPD or set of OCPDs than 30 V and 240 VA within 10 sec of rapid-shut-
exist on the transformer secondary. down initiation.
Exception No. 2—Between OCPDs of the same size
(ampere rating) in series. 3. Voltage and power shall be measured between any
Informational Note—The terms “coordination” and two conductors and between any conductor and
“coordinated” as used in this section do not cover the ground.
full range of overcurrent conditions. The device closest
to the fault must open without opening the upstream 4. The rapid-shutdown initiation methods shall be
protection-faulted circuit. labeled in accordance with Article 690.56(B).

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❯❯
PURE POWER // WINTER 2015
20 NEC 2014 Changes

5. Equipment that perform the rapid shutdown shall be Alternate configurations involve implementing smart com-
listed and identified. biner boxes or dc-to-dc converters with switching capabil-
ity. Schematics of different configurations are illustrated
Analysis of change—Prior to the NEC 2014 update, in Figure 5.
there were no requirements for a rapid power shutdown of With the plethora of changes witnessed in the 2014
rooftop PV systems. The intent of this change is to increase revision to the NEC, the focus here was on seven key
the safety of first responders by creating a protected zone changes affecting the electrical industry for commercial
in which shock hazards have been mitigated. and industrial systems. In the next revisions expect to see
There has been significant controversy and debate about continued code updates in the next revisions for renew-
the specific requirements in this new section, particularly able energy systems as well as selective coordination and
because the methodology is addressed in the product arc flash hazard protection.
standards, not in the NFPA documents. A key concern is
often defining the location of the device to de-energize the ABOUT THE AUTHORS
controlled conductors of the PV system, and if more than Robert C. Corson is a principal engineer at Triad Consulting
one is required. Engineers. He has experience in the design and analysis of
With the inverter anti-islanding requirements of UL power systems for commercial, industrial, renewable energy,
1741-2010: Standard for Inverters, Converters, Control- and mission critical facilities including 120/208 V through 230
lers, and Interconnection System Equipment for Use with kV, PV plants up to 20 MW, emergency microgrid generation,
Distributed Energy Resources, opening the main service and UPS systems for critical applications.
disconnect will result in the de-energizing of the PV sys- Philip M. Grenci is the chief electrical engineer at Triad
tem. As long as any potential storage devices (e.g., capaci- Consulting Engineers. He has 30 yr of experience in the in-
tors) within the inverters discharge within this time frame, dustry and supervises the electrical engineers and designers
and the inverters are located within 10 ft of the PV array, at the company’s New Jersey office.
the main service disconnect could satisfy this requirement.

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PURE POWER // WINTER 2015
22 Data Center Cooling

By Bill Kosik, PE, CEM, LEED AP, BEMP, Data Center Facilities Consulting,
Hewlett-Packard Co., Chicago

Using warm water


for data center cooling
There are many ways to cool a data center. Engineers should explore the various cooling options
and apply the solution that’s appropriate for the application.

T
he Slinky and IT systems. Can there really be computer. Some resorted to removing windows, leaving ex-
common attributes between a spiral metal toy terior doors open, and other rudimentary approaches that
invented in the 1940s and a revolutionary technol- used ambient air for keeping things cool. But others had
ogy that impacts most people on this planet? If already realized that water could be a more practical and
you have ever played with a Slinky or seen one in action operationally viable solution to keep the computers at an
(especially on stairs), you’ll see that as it travels on the acceptable temperature. Different generations of computers
stairs, the mass of the spring moves from the trailing end demonstrate this point:
of the Slinky to the leading end. This shifting of the mass
causes the trailing end to eventually overtake the lead-  UNIVAC, released in 1951, demanded 120 kW and
ing end, jumping over it and landing on the next stair. If required 52 tons of chilled water cooling. It had an
the staircase went on forever, so electrical density of 100 W/sq ft.
would the Slinky.
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
The meaning behind this  Control Data Corp.’s CDC 7600 debuted in the early
 Apply the various ways to cool a
data center. visual metaphor is that as soon 1970s and consumed 150 kW. (The primary inventor
as things seem to settle out in of the CDC 7600 went on to found Cray Computers).
 Decide which data center cool-
ing options work best in each the information technology (IT) It was benchmarked at 10 megaflop/sec and used an
part of the world. sector, some other disruptive internal refrigerant cooling system that rejected heat
 Model different ways to design force changes the rules and leap- to an external water loop. (FLOPS, is an acronym for
a data center by making use of frogs right over the status quo floating-point operations per second) It had an electri-
various cooling technologies. into completely new territory. A cal density of 200 W/sq ft.
similar effect can be seen when
thinking about cooling systems for data centers, which  In 1990 IBM introduced the ES/9000 mainframe
have very tight relationships to the IT systems. By the computer, which consumed 166 kW. It is interesting
time the HVAC equipment manufacturers have it figured to note that 80% of the machine’s heat is dissipated
out, the IT industry throws them a curveball and creates a using chilled-water cooling. The remaining heat is re-
new platform that challenges the status quo in maintain- jected to the air. This system had an electrical density
ing the appropriate temperature and moisture levels in- of 210 W/sq ft.
side the data center. But this is not new—the evolution of
powerful computers has continually pushed the limits of  The first part of the 21st century ushered in some
power-delivery and cooling systems required to maintain pretty amazing advances in computing. In 2014,
their reliability goals. Hewlett-Packard announced a new high-performance
computer—also water-cooled—that is capable of
A BRIEF HISTORY OF (COMPUTER) TIME 1.2 quadrillion calculations/sec peak performance
Early in the development of large, mainframe computers (“petascale”-computing capability, which is defined as
used in the defense and business sectors, one of the major 1,015 FLOPS). Computing power of this scale designed
problems that the scientists and engineers faced (and still for energy and space efficiency yield a power density
do today) was the heat generated by the innards of the of more than 1,000 W/sq ft.

www.csemag.com/purepower
Data Center Cooling 23 ❮❮

PURE POWER // WINTER 2015


MOVING TO TODAY’S TECHNOLOGY
One can glean from this information that it wasn’t until
the late 20th/early 21st century that computing technol-
ogy really took off. New processor, memory, storage, and
interconnection technologies resulted in more powerful
computers that use less energy on a per-instruction basis.
But one thing remained constant: All of this computation-
ally intensive technology, enclosed in ever-smaller pack-
ages, produced heat—a lot of heat.
As the computer designers and engineers honed their
craft and continued to develop unbelievably powerful
computers, the thermal engineering teams responsible for
keeping the processors, memory modules, graphics cards,
and other internal computer components at an optimal
temperature had to develop innovative and reliable cooling
solutions to keep pace with this immense computing. For
example, modern-day computational science may require Figure 1: Rear-door heat exchangers (RDHX) attach to the back of the
a computer rack that houses close to 3,000 cores, which is server cabinet. The goal of the RDHX is to cool the air from the servers
roughly the equivalent of 375 servers, in one rack. back to room temperature so there is no additional cooling load that would
ordinarily be taken care of by the computer-room cooling system. All
graphics courtesy: Hewlett-Packard Co.
All of this computationally intensive
technology, enclosed in ever-smaller
packages, produced heat—a lot of heat.
This equates to an electrical demand (and correspond-
ing cooling load) of 90 kW per rack. This will yield a data
center with an electrical density of considerably more than
1,000 W/sq ft, depending on the data center layout and the
amount of other equipment in the room. With numbers like
this, it was clear: Conventional air cooling will not work in
this type of environment.

CURRENT STATE OF DATA CENTER COOLING


Data center cooling system development, employing the
most current and common industry methodologies, range
from split-system, refrigerant-based components to more
complex (and sometimes exotic) arrangements, such as liq-
uid immersion, where modified servers are submerged in a
mineral oil-like solution, eliminating all heat transfer to the
ambient air because the circulating oil solution becomes
the conduit for heat rejection.
Other complex systems, such as pumped or thermo-sy-
phon carbon-dioxide cooling also offer very high efficien- Figure 2: Another way to isolate the cooling load of the computers from
cies in terms of volume of heat rejection media needed; 1 the data center is to use enclosed, water-cooled cabinets. Essentially a
kg of carbon dioxide absorbs the same amount of heat as 7 fan-coil unit that is attached to the computer cabinet, fans draw the hot
kg of water. This potentially can reduce piping and equip- air from the computers over a water coil, cooling the water down to the
ment sizing, and also reduce energy costs. desired level.

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❯❯
PURE POWER // WINTER 2015
24 Data Center Cooling

Water-based cooling in data centers falls somewhere be- been in use for several years and tends to work best for
tween the basic (although tried-and-true) air-cooled direct high-density applications, especially when the equipment
expansion (DX) systems and complex methods with high is located in an existing low-density data center.
degrees of sophistication. And because water-based data Direct-coupled: One of the primary challenges when
center cooling systems have been in use in some form or cooling a data center is the ability to control how effectively
another for more than 60 yr, there is a lot of analytical and the cooling load can be neutralized. A data center that uses
historical data on how these systems perform and where cold air supplied to the room via raised floor or ducting
their strengths and weaknesses lie. The most common comes with inherent difficulties, such as uncontrolled by-
water-based approaches today can be aggregated anecdot- pass air, imbalanced air delivery, and re-entrainment of hot
ally into three primary classifications: near-coupled, close- exhaust air into the intakes of the computer equipment—all
coupled, and direct-cooled. of which will usually present difficul-
Near-coupled: Near-coupled systems ties in keeping the IT equipment at
include solutions including rear-door
heat exchangers (RDHX), where the
One of the primary allowable temperatures.
Most of these complications stem
cooling water is pumped to a large
coil built into the rear door of the IT
challenges when cooling a from proximity and physical contain-
ment; if the hot air escapes into the
cabinet (see Figure 1). Depending on
the design, airflow-assist fans can data center is the ability room before the cold air can mix with
it and reduce the temperature, the
also come integrated into the RDHX. hot air now becomes a fugitive and
This heat-removal design reduces the to control how effectively the cold air becomes an inefficiency
temperature of the exhaust air coming in the system. In all air-cooled data
from the IT equipment (typically cabi- the cooling load can be centers, a highly effective method for
net-mounted servers). The temperature reducing these difficulties is to use a
reduction varies based on parameters,
such as water temperature, water flow,
neutralized. partition system as part of an overall
containment system that physically
airflow, etc. However, the goal is to re- separates the hot air from the cold
duce the temperature to as close to ambient as possible. For air, allowing for a fairly precise cooling solution. On a
example, with an inlet air temperature of 75 F and a water macro scale, it is possible to carefully control how much air
flow of 1.3 gpm/ton, using 66 F chilled water will cool 85% comes into and out of the containment system and predict
of the heat in the server cabinet to room temperature. With general supply and return temperatures. What cannot be
59 F chilled water, 100% of the heat will be cooled to room done in this type of system is to ensure that the required
temperature. It is assumed that the cooling water for the airflow and temperature across the internal components in
RDHX is a secondary or tertiary loop with a 2 F increase in the computer system are being met. As individual server
water temperature from the chilled water temperature. This fans will vary their speed to control internal temperatures
solution has been in use for several years and tends to work (based on workload), it is possible to starve air, especially
best for high-density applications with uniform IT-cabinet- if the workload is small, causing the internal fans to go to
row distribution. Because the RDHX units are typically minimum speed.
mounted on the back of the IT cabinet, it does not impact
the floor space. NEXT GENERATION
Close-coupled: Close-coupled water-based cooling solu- In computing applications where the electrical density is
tions include water-cooled IT cabinets that have coils and at a point where industry-standard cooling solutions can
circulation fans built into the cabinet (see Figure 2). This no longer properly cool the equipment, using alternative
system allows for totally enclosed and cooled IT equip- methods, such as direct water cooling, becomes necessary.
ment where the heat load is completely contained, with There is no hard-and-fast rule on the electrical-density
only a small amount (~5%) of the heat being released cutoff when air cooling starts to become ineffective. A
into the data center. This system has similar limitations to data center with a homogeneous IT equipment layout and
the RDHX, but generally is more feasible to neutralize the optimized air distribution will be able to use air cooling to
entire cooling load. a much higher threshold than a heterogeneous data center
The cabinet is larger than a standard IT cabinet. How- with legacy IT equipment and less-than-optimal air distri-
ever, because the equipment is enclosed, it is possible to bution. Obviously, this is an IT-equipment-driven outcome,
mount higher densities of IT equipment in the cabinet falling outside the purview of the facility’s HVAC engineer-
due to the ability of the cabinet to maintain a much more ing team. When the opportunity arises to develop a design
uniform temperature, essentially eliminating any chance for a direct-water-cooled computing system, it is essential
of a high-temperature cutout event. This solution also has to understand some important concepts and strategies.

www.csemag.com/purepower
Data Center Cooling 25 ❮❮

PURE POWER // WINTER 2015


Helsinki cooling water temperatures
Water temperature
Hours
(deg F)
Cooling water supply temperature (deg F)
20 250
25 160 1,400 1,333
30 218
35 459 1,200 Hours
40 525 1,039
45 1,333 1,000
925
50 1,039 884

Annual hours
825
55 884 800 733 706
60 925
65 733 600
525
70 825 459
400 383
75 706
80 383 250
218 196
200 160
85 196 111
90 111 13 0 0 0
0
95 13 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85 90 95 100 105 110
100 0
Water temperature bin (deg F)
105 0
110 0

Figure 3: When analyzing the effectiveness of using warm-water cooling, it is essential to study the climate where the data center is to be located. In these
two examples, bin data of the number of hours at certain condenser water temperatures has been developed. The condenser water temperature takes into
consideration the hourly wet-bulb temperatures as well as the cooling tower approach, typically algorithmically derived. The weather data for Helsinki
(above) indicates condenser water temperatures that are lower than that of Abu Dhabi (below). When using warm-water heat rejection, generating hour-by-
hour data allows for a detailed energy-consumption analysis.

Abu Dhabi cooling water temperatures


Water temperature
(deg F)
Hours Cooling water supply temperature (deg F)
20 0
1,400
25 0
30 0 Hours 1,176
1,200
1,200
35 0 1,164
40 0 981
1,000
Annual hours

45 0 898
50 0 835
800
55 0 639
60 9 600
562
65 70
70 330 400 330
75 639
80 898 200
85 835 70
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 9
90 1,164 0
20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85 90 95 100 105 110
95 1,176
100 1,200 Water temperature bin (deg F)
105 981
110 562

Direct-cooling strategy: There are several approaches cessor, memory, and other internal components. The other
used by different manufacturers, such as a direct supply side of the thermal plate is connected to the cooling water.
of water to a heat sink attached to the computer’s inter- Water temperature: The term “cooling water” is a
nal components, specifically the processor and memory misnomer in that the supply water can be as warm as 85 F
modules. Another approach is to use a dry-type connection to 105 F. The terms “warm-water cooling” or even “hot-
where the water stays outside of the server. The heat-trans- water cooling” have emerged, even though each appears to
fer process is achieved by using thermal plates connected be a contradiction in terms. This is really the centerpiece
to heat pipes that are also connected to plates on the pro- of water-cooled-computer energy efficiency. Because the

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❯❯
PURE POWER // WINTER 2015
26 Data Center Cooling

Supercomputing capability 1990 to 2020


(FLOP/sec, flop/sec/W)
1E+19
9 2,000
2,
1E+18
8 1,800
1,
1E+17
7 1,600
1,
1E+16
6 1,400
1,

E a al
Exascale
1E+15
5 1,200
1,
Gigascale
g Terascale
a a Petascale
P s e
FLOP/sec

1E+14
4 1,000
1,
1E+13
3 800
80
1E+12
2 600
60
1E+11
1 400
40
1E+10
0 200
20
1E+09
9 0
90
1990

92
1992

94
1994

96
1996

98
1998

00
2000

02
2002

04
2004

06
2006

08
2008

0
2010

2
2012

4
2014

6
2016

8
2018

0
2020
Figure 4: The capability of supercomputers and other HPC installations has increased significantly since 1990. The FLOP/s and MFLOP/sec/W have increased
steadily until the realm of the petascale computer. The computers are not only becoming more powerful, but the use of power has become more efficient.

internal components of a computer generally can happily use of the CDU must be included in any energy-use metric,
operate far above 150 F, using higher-temperature water such as power usage effectiveness.
works great. Here’s the clincher: Using these water temper- Air-cooled equipment requirements: While the water-
atures to cool computers can eliminate the use of compres- cooled computer may be the largest cooling load in the data
sorized cooling equipment. In most climates—even very center, there will most likely be IT and electrical equip-
warm ones—the energy use associated with traditional ment that still rely on air cooling. In addition, many of the
data center cooling solutions is significant because the water-cooled computers still have a small percentage of the
energy use associated with compressorized cooling (chill- cooling load (radiated heat) that must be air cooled. This
ers, condensing units, etc.) will necessitates the use of computer-
be 50% or more of the total HVAC room air-handling units (AHUs)
energy use. While the water-cooled computer or central AHUs. These units
Geography: Although most can be stand-alone, split-system
climates allow for production of may be the largest cooling load DX units, or—if the facility is
warm water used for cooling com- large enough—a small, separate
puters without compressors, the
type and size of the heat-rejection
in the data center, there will most chilled-water system can be
installed. Regardless of the final
system will depend on the distribu-
tion of the dry-bulb and wet-bulb
likely be IT and electrical equipment design, the energy-use estimates
must account for these systems.
temperatures. Analyzing climatic
data early on in the project will
that still rely on air cooling. Cooling-system redundancy:
Driven by the IT equipment
provide guidance on the location, redundancy requirements, the
physical size, and capacity of the cooling towers, evaporative cooling system must have built-in mechanisms for continu-
coolers, dry coolers, or whatever the heat-rejection schema is ity of operation if there is a loss of power or a major equip-
(see Figure 3). ment failure. Due to the diameter and length of the piping
Water distribution: Typically, cooling loops in the com- in a large water-cooled computer facility, the cooling-water
puters will be isolated from the base building water loop via piping can act as a storage tank that continues to circulate
a heat exchanger. Knowing that there would typically be a water (as one part of the overall reliability strategy) until
primary/secondary arrangement on the house-cooling water the outage is corrected.
distribution system, the computer water loops become tertia- Fan energy: There is another component of data center
ry. Contingent on the computer manufacturer, a cooling dis- energy use that is influenced by the use of water-cooled
tribution unit (CDU) will provide the connection to the house computers: fan energy for the facility air-handling systems.
secondary loop and the water pumping through the piping Depending on the type of water-cooled computer, a certain
within the computer. In addition to the physical requirements percentage of the heat will be dissipated into the data cen-
of the CDU, like piping and electrical connections, the energy ter ambient environment, and not picked up by the cooling

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PURE POWER // WINTER 2015
28 Data Center Cooling

water. This amount of heat will range 52%. These numbers could be a signal
from approximately 5% to 30% of the More computing power that private industry has the ability to
total IT cabinet load. This cooling load fund HPC systems to a higher level.
What is all of this massive amount of
will be taken care of by the house Another important organization
computing power used for? Organizations
AHUs. This means that 70% to 95% of will be able to: in the HPC/supercomputing world is
the fan energy of a fully air-cooled data The Green500. The purpose of The
 Design new products faster
center will be eliminated. And because Green500, similar to the Top500,
and more efficiently
the fan motor energy will be the first or is to provide a ranking of the most
second highest energy use, it is a very  Simulate and anticipate energy-efficient supercomputers in
significant energy-reduction strategy. multidimensional phenomena such the world. Over the years, the result
as climate change
of placing an emphasis on computer
NEXT STEPS: MORE GREEN  Analyze massive data flows in speed and throughput without much
It is interesting that many of the first real time consideration for electrical consump-
widely distributed water-cooled com-  Identify threats to national security tion, cooling-system energy, or overall
puters, such as the IBM ES/9000, were  Provide crisis management. environmental impact has been an
used in the business world. But over extraordinary increase in the long-term
These computing systems will enable
time, the focus has seemed to change. operating cost of the supercomputing
applications to capture, store, compute,
There seems to be a rekindled inter- installation. As The Green500 puts it,
analyze, and visualize very massive data
est in using water-cooled computers models as fast as possible. “ … [We] encourage supercomputing
for new high-performance computing stakeholders to ensure that supercom-
systems. To keep things in perspec- puters are only simulating climate
tive, the percentage of high performance computing (HPC) change and not creating climate change.”
systems classified as “industry” on the Top500 List is 22%; On July 29, 2015, President Obama signed an executive
the percentage of systems listed under the categories “gov- order, “Creating a National Strategic Computing Initiative.”
ernment/academic/research” is 76%. Clearly, the number This order establishes the National Strategic Computing Ini-
of HPC systems for nonindustry use dominates the list. tiative (NSCI). “The NSCI is a whole-of-government effort
However, looking at it from a different angle, if one adds designed to create a cohesive, multi-agency strategic vision
up all of the peak-power demands of the systems on the list and federal investment strategy, executed in collaboration
and analyzes the percentage breakdown, the gap shrinks with industry and academia, to maximize the benefits of
significantly. The percentage of total power of “industry” HPC for the United States.” One of the tenets of the order
HPC systems on the Top500 List is 46%; the systems listed is to continue to reinforce requirements that HPC systems
under the categories “government/academic/research” is must improve in performance and efficiency (see Figure 4).
Less than a decade ago, hitting petaFLOP/s performance
was the absolute high-water mark. Now computer engi-
neers, scientists, and researchers are coming close to reach-
AD INDEX
ing “exascale” computing. Scientists believe that exascale
Caterpillar - Northeast - 13 402 is on the order of processing power of the human brain at
www.NECatDealers.com/power the neural level. And, unbelievably, these same people are
CFE Media, Engineering Is Personal - 21 already looking at “zettascale” computers. However, the
630-571-4070 www.csemag.com onset of big data has given business/enterprise users the
CSE E-newsletters - 20 ability to capture, store, compute, analyze, and visualize
630-571-4070 www.csemag.com/newsletters very massive data models, similar to the HPC industry.
Perhaps it is just a matter of time before water-cooled com-
CSE On-demand Webcasts - 27
630-571-4070 www.csemag.com/ondemandwebcasts puters fully penetrate the business ecosystem and gain a
foothold based on computing- and data-intensive business
Kohler - C-4 404
models. So, when this happens, water-cooled computers
800-544-2444 www.KOHLERPOWER.COM
will have finally come full circle.
Russelectric Inc. - 7 401
800-225-5250 www.russelectric.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Thomson Power Systems - C-3 403 Bill Kosik, is a distinguished technologist, Data Center
604-888-0110 WWW.THOMSONPS.COM
Facilities Consulting at Hewlett-Packard Co. He is a
United Wire & Cable - C-2 400 member of the Consulting-Specifying Engineer editorial
800-265-8697 www.unitedwc.com advisory board.

www.csemag.com/purepower
input #403 at www.csemag.com/information
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input #404 at www.csemag.com/information