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Case study: Airedale solves data centre challenge with tailor made solution

When a well known data centre management company was unable to use standard leak detection technologies in its facilities, Airedale had the answer.

One of the biggest downtime threats for data centre operators is leaks, and preventing them is one of the most fundamental areas of protection of data centres and critical facilities. 

Standard technologies for leak detection include tape leak detection or pipe-in-pipe solutions. But what happens when the extent of the water distribution scheme and inaccessibility make these inapplicable?

This was the situation with one of the largest data centres in the UK, who have a water distribution system to feed 20MW of adiabatic cooling units. They needed a solution to both solve this issue and which also adhered to the prestigious Tier IV certification requirements.

The Solution

Airedale developed the T4TWDS (The Tier 4 Treated Water Distribution System) a bespoke solution to solve this issue. The T4TWDS is both a mechanical and control solution, which monitors and controls water treatment, water storage and water distribution for adiabatic cooling units in a data centre.

The solution designed was also capable – with a complex algorithm of volumetric flow monitoring – to detect leaks, faults and to isolate elements of the system to ensure that service to the data centres was never disrupted.

Key features

  • A water flow meter that both monitored flow and detected leaks at the same time. – automatically taking action to verify and isolate the potential issue.

  • An additional infrastructure layer to the water distribution system, making water available via redundant monitored supplies to all of the cooling units at all times. 

  • Reliability of the adiabatic system reduced the requirement of a mechanical cooling circuit to achieve cooling.

  • The system was self-adjusting to specific conditions and faults, to guarantee that service was never disrupted.

  • The T4TWDS was engineered for resilience and reliability levels that are common in mission critical applications, but unlikely to be connected to other water distribution systems. This was achieved with distributing intelligence to every controller and outstation, making them capable of functioning independently or sharing functionalities with the other controllers.

The Results

Energy efficiency savings – Mechanical cooling was only required for ‘topping up’ the available cooling. For the majority of time the adiabatic system in the units was used achieving a PUE of 1.1.

The solution also received two BREEM points in recognition of its low global warming impact.

Ease of maintenance – Planned maintenance was more easily carried out because of the automated features of the solution, including seasonal drain down, auto-leak shut down, and automatic leak checking.

Overall reduction in costs – The solution could be integrated into the site’s existing BMS system and because of the resilience and intelligence of the system there were less call-outs.

“Airedale’s commitment to achieve the best possible results has been impressive. Lead by a strong management team, the engineers have worked to produce a project of the very highest standard in terms of functionality and craftsmanship,” states a client testimonial.

The client, a well-known data centre management company continued, “There have been, as with most projects, obstacles and anomalies materialising, which in its self, is common practice. The professional approach to deal with these is the difference between good and exceptional contractors, which Airedale have proved themselves to be.”

In summary, Airedale have been proud to work on this project and are delighted to be able to solve this particular challenge. We pride ourselves on developing bespoke solutions to challenging industry problems.


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