Originally posted on Data Center Frontier by Julius Neudorfer


The stated purpose of the of the proposed ASHRAE 90.4P standard is “to establish the minimum energy efficiency requirements of Data Centers for: the design, construction, and a plan for operation and maintenance, and utilization of on-site or off-site renewable energy resources”.

The scope covers a) New Data Centers or portions thereof and their systems, b) new additions to Data Centers or portions thereof and their systems, and c) modifications to systems and equipment in existing Data Centers or portions thereof”. It also states that the provisions of this standard do not apply to: a. telephone exchange(s) b. essential facility(ies) c. information technology equipment (ITE).

This article is the forth in a series on data center cooling taken from the Data Center Frontier Special Report on Data Center Cooling Standards (Getting Ready for Revisions to the ASHRAE Standard)

Mandatory Compliance Though Legislation

The proposed 90.4 standard states that: “Compliance with this standard is voluntary until and unless a legal jurisdiction makes compliance mandatory through legislation”. As previously stated, one of the many data center industry concerns are that the “authorities having jurisdiction”(AHJ). This encompasses many state and local building departments, as well as the federal government, which use 90.1 as a basis for many types of commercial and industrial new buildings or requirements to upgrade existing buildings. Therefore, they will also use 90.4 as their new data center standard, since it is referred to in the revision to the 90.1 standard.  Moreover 90.4 also acts as a more detailed supplement to 90.1 and in fact specifically requires all other compliance with 90.1 building provisions. In addition to any design compromises and increased costs, it seems unlikely that many AHJs local building inspectors may fully understand the complex data center specific issues, such as redundancy levels, or even be familiar with TC9.9 or The Green Grid PUE metric. This could delay approvals or force unnecessary design changes, simply based on how the local building inspector interprets the 90.1 and 90.4 standards.

To read the full article, view it on the Data Center Frontier website here.