SEATTLE — McKinstry, a design-build-operate-and-maintain firm, and Sabey Data Centers, a leading owner, developer, and operator of data center properties, have partnered to develop a product called the Mobile Commissioning Assistant for data center owners. The patent-pending device allows owners to accurately simulate actual operating conditions prior to installing servers in new data centers. According to the companies, owners can expect a full payback of the cost of the device after four uses, with the savings accumulated by not having to rent traditional heating banks to test new data center spaces.

“Our team is always developing methods to improve operating efficiencies for our clients, and the innovative Mobile Commissioning Assistant product is another way we will accomplish this with our data center projects,” said Dean Allen, CEO of McKinstry. “Sabey Data Centers was the ideal partner for us with their extensive knowledge of the data center property market and the strong partnership McKinstry has built with them over the years.”

The Mobile Commissioning Assistant is designed specifically for data centers with hot aisle/cold aisle containment arrangements — which refers to the physical barriers between rows and their orientation to eliminate the mixing of cold supply air entering the servers and hot exhaust air exiting the servers. This increasingly popular energy conservation strategy in data centers is estimated by Energy Star® to reduce energy expenses by 5-10 percent. However, it is challenging to accurately test the cooling systems in the space to ensure they can handle the heat and airflow distributed by the servers before the servers arrive in new data centers.

Traditional testing strategies include renting multiple heating banks, which simulate temperature but not airflow and pressurization. The Mobile Commissioning Assistant simulates both the airflow and the temperature of future servers in a hot/cold aisle containment arrangement before the servers are moved into the space.

With a heating coil, fan, and an adjustable duct, the Mobile Commissioning Assistant is housed on a mobile cart. The adjustable duct mimics the presence of containment barriers, while the fan acts as the hundreds of server fans creating airflow and pressurization patterns in the space. The fan makes it possible for the cooling system to handle the airflow of operating conditions when the servers are added to the space. One of the primary benefits of the device is its mobile capabilities, which allow it be positioned in the optimal heat density location.

McKinstry and Sabey said the product’s quick payback, combined with the reduced risk that comes with more accurate testing, makes the device an attractive purchase for clients with large portfolios of data centers.

For more information about McKinstry, visit

For more information about Sabey Data Centers, visit

Publication date: 12/15/2014

Want more HVAC industry news and information? Join The NEWS on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn today!