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Data centers are multiplying in number and size as electronic business, communication, collaboration, and recreation continue to increase in popularity. A large amount of electrical power consumed by data center computing equipment is converted to heat, requiring dedicated cooling systems 24 hours a day. Some data center operators have begun taking advantage of this heat instead of expelling it to the atmosphere. This approach not only reduces the electricity costs of these facilities but also minimizes the environmental impact they generate. Anthem has a 2.5 MW data center for which they would like to develop an air-to-air thermal recycle method. Through research of data center cooling and existing thermal recycling methods, an applicable solution has been identified. Air Dumping consists of directly injecting warm server exhaust air into a conditioned space as supplementary heating input during winter months using a fan-powered box (FPB) located within the ceiling of the data center. In order to retain data center pressurization and mass flow of cooling air, replacement (make-up) air must be supplied to the ceiling plenum at a rate equal to the extraction. By replacing warm 90°F server exhaust with cool 60°F make-up air, computer room air handling (CRAH) unit cooling loads will decrease, resulting in additional savings. During the warm months of the year, the team evaluated other potential uses of waste heat, such as thermoelectric power generation.

Publication Date



data center, HVAC, waste heat, recycle


Engineering | Mechanical Engineering | Nuclear Engineering

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Dr. Sama Bilbao y León

VCU Capstone Design Expo Posters


© The Author(s)

Date of Submission

May 2018

Anthem Sustainability Project