Proper Load Testing and Commissioning Deliver Data Center Benefits

The most successful testing and commissioning of a data center requires you develop your plan as early as possible. By preparing your commissioning plan early in the project, such as in the pre-design or design phase, you can integrate best practices for testing mission-critical electric and thermal systems.

Load testing and commissioning of your facility offers an opportunity to positively affect your project budget. You can validate equipment functioning, verify the infrastructure as a whole is operating at top performance levels, and optimize the facility’s design and layout.

Proper load testing during data center commissioning affects your capital expenditure (capex) and operational expenditure (opex) budgets. Using the results of your load testing, you can fix issues before your facility goes into production. After your facility launches, repairs, redesigns and retrofitting becomes more expensive.

In addition, load testing and commissioning allows you to fine-tune operations so you can improve efficiency and reliability of electrical and thermal systems. Load testing also creates a performance baseline for future maintenance testing. When you know how your various systems perform under a full load, you can better prepare for future upgrades and expansions.

The commissioning process takes place throughout all phases of a project. Before the project starts, you should clearly define the roles and responsibilities of the commissioning team members. These roles and responsibilities must be refined at each project phase. The commissioning process also requires contingency plans in the event special circumstances affect commissioning timing.

Specific commissioning activities during each project phase includes:

·      Planning Phase  – Pre-project development activities ensure your commissioning plan, budget and organizational responsibilities are included in the project development estimates. During this phase, the commissioning process involves three major activities:  developing a commissioning plan with the budget, clarifying roles and responsibilities for each phase, and developing a commissioning checklist for the project.

·      Design Phase – During the design phase, the design requirements specific to the project are integrated within the commissioning plan. Your written commissioning plan must also include utility and supplier test requirements. All parties involved should sign-off on the commissioning plan prior to construction.

·      Procurement Phase – The facility equipment is installed during this phase. If required, the type of test and approvals are verified. After integrating the project schedule, you must remain focused on the timing for the final commissioning date. In addition, be sure to perform factory acceptance testing on complex subsystems, as well as conduct a system test at the subsystem level during the commissioning process.

·      Acceptance Phase – To verify correct operation, the commissioning test is conducted once all equipment is installed and when the system goes live. The system should then be tested to ensure compliance with IEEE 1547.1a (IEEE Standard Conformance Test Procedures) and IEEE 1547.1 Revision (2018). Also, be sure to test communications systems during this phase.

Acceptance testing can be completed under special circumstances that can affect timing. For example, commissioning timing may be affected when a substation is not energized or the utility wants to verify system protection behavior before connecting.

 ·      System Handoff to Operation – The requirements included in the commissioning test should flow into the maintenance plans that are put in place for the power system. The test data from the commissioning test can be used as a baseline for future system testing. You should also require periodic interconnection tests or integrated system tests. When an operation terminates, it’s important to include a deliberate and planned decommissioning process.

When you begin developing your commissioning plan, be sure to answer these important questions:

·      Who will be involved in the commissioning process?

·      Which systems requiring validation?

·      What equipment will conduct the needed tests for each system?

·      How will you determine if each load bank is right for each test?

·      Do any logistical issues exist for the delivering the load banks to their testing location?

·      What’s the testing timeline and does it work within the project’s master schedule?

·      How experienced is your load bank supplier and will they provide exceptional service?

·      How will you capture the necessary data?

·      How will you interpret the resulting data?

·      What issues must you resolve before prior to facility deployment?

Your goal is to implement a load testing and commissioning plan that accurately simulates the electrical and thermal loads of your data center systems. When you accomplish a successful load test, you optimize facility operations and have an opportunity to lower costs.

Download ComRent’s Latest eBook…

For a detailed discussion on load bank solutions and building commissioning, download ComRent’s latest eBook – “Using Load Bank Solutions to Optimize Building Commissioning” This resource discusses the commissioning process and how it is used to validate that the installation and operation of new equipment is performing as required before it supports a critical load.

ComRent’s team of experts is ready to help ensure your system is successfully commissioned. We are offering a complimentary consultation to review your project and propose the right load bank solution for your requirements. Contact us today

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