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Articles by Kevin Dickens, P.E.

A Solid-State Of Mind: Prepping For The Next Wave

What aspects of bleeding-edge data center thought can I incorporate for leading-edge designs? What is the future of the compressor in these environments? Or the future of a designer who doesn’t ask questions like these?
April 1, 2014
Why are you an engineer? Did you love math and science as a kid and simply follow your bliss? Or were you pushed into it by your guidance counselor even though your heart was somewhere else?
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DCIM, DOAS, maybe LEED?

Pull up a pixel and pick an acronym, any acronym …
December 23, 2013
How many blogs are there? I would suggest one too many if I am now contributing to one.
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The X-Factor: Y Should U Care?

Unprecedented vendor-neutral data has been brought down from the mountain on a digital tablet.
September 1, 2013
Unprecedented vendor-neutral data has been brought down from the mountain on a digital tablet. That’s helpful for data center designers, but applying a little thought and site-specific consideration can reveal the path to wisdom in areas like failure rate, noise, power draw versus temperatures, and more.
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The Heat Is On But The CRACs Are Off... Now What?

With Hurricane Sandy fresh in our minds, let’s examine the anatomy of a recent outage’s immediate HVAC consequences as a guide toward protecting equipment in the future.
March 29, 2013
October 29 was a Monday. It was also the day that Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New York City. Around 7 p.m., Con Edison shut power off in Lower Manhattan, and it would be sometime Saturday before lights would begin to flicker back on.
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Thoughtful Simplification In The Data Center

March 23, 2012
New ideas, regulations, and equipment are making some designs outdated faster than ever. How to take in an ever-evolving landscape, take a deep breath, and provide a data center design to stay proud of? Learn about an integrated VAV approach, the only control point that really matters, and more.
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Cutting Costs vs. Creeping Copper: The Data Center Airside Economizer Conundrum

January 10, 2012
So Charles Dickens, Ferris Bueller, a chicken, and a pig walk into an HVAC article … and try to sort out proper use of outdoor air in data centers. As you might imagine, it’s not simple. But if you remember these three design absolutes and consider your client’s specific perspective, the resulting efficiencies might have you singing Wayne Newton at the prospect of repeat business.
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Data Center Star Search

October 1, 2010
You’redesigning a data center. Which certification makes the most sense? Do you really know how ASHRAE 90.1 does (or doesn’t apply) to your project? Where have the mission critical bigwigs put their focus? Develop perfect pitch for the differences involved and see why the author prefers to play in the key of ENERGY STAR.
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Don't Just Step Outside Your Comfort Zone - JUMP!

August 1, 2010
When it comes to data center environments, both the temperature/humidity parameters and the conventional wisdom about designing for them have been, well, a little narrow. Look over the results of advanced research and then dig out the owner’s manual of your client’s servers, and you may be ready to make the leap to an equally effective, much less wasteful design.
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The Evolution Revolution In Data Center Design

April 1, 2010
The recent leaps forward in data center cooling may not quite rival the progress from hand calculation to CFD, but progress has been fast and furious nonetheless. The road to efficiency has widened as the cooling focus has narrowed from the room’s air to the room’s equipment. How did we get here? And what would a potential next step - chip-level cooling - entail? Read, reflect, and ponder.
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Of Sausage And Servers

August 1, 2009
In which the author isn’t trying to stir up trouble, really. As a society, we may not like to know exactly how the demands of modern technology get supported. But as designers, we have a duty to hone in on the physics of the data center situation, avoiding prefab filler and delivering answers that cut the mustard.
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How to Calculate Backup Power Supply Requirements for Your Facility

On-Demand This webinar reviews how to determine power requirements of facility loads; electrical characteristics and impact of different types of loads such as large motors and UPS systems on power supply sizing; acceptable power sources and other constraints applied by building codes; and how software tools can be used to simplify the process of calculating backup power requirements.  

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Design Flaws

Following up on Howard McKew's April "Tomorrow's Environment" column: Have you ever thought twice about reporting problems with another firm's design? What did you do?
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