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What California’s Title 24 Means for Your Data Center

July 10, 2014

Data Centers

Effective since July 1, California’s new Title 24 energy efficiency standards have brought into light some specific requirements for new or retrofit computer rooms and data centers of 20W/ft2 of equipment. This means the new standards can apply to small computer closets in offices to large data centers.

Many customers, particularly those located outside of the state, reached out to us, requesting more information on the topic.

Here’s a breakdown of the main requirements, technologies recommended and the benefits of this new set of standards. (You can also view the entire document here.)


  • Economizers are required in small computer rooms in buildings that have economizers (some exemptions apply)
  • Reheat is prohibited
  • Non-adiabatic humidification is prohibited
  • Fan-power limit of 27 watts/kBtuh of net sensible cooling capacity is required
  • Variable speed controls on all chilled water fan systems and all direct expansion (DX) systems of more than 5 tons serving computer rooms are required
  • Containment in new large, high-density data centers with air-cooled computers is required

The California Energy Commission suggests the use of the following technologies:

  • Variable speed drives or EC fan motors
  • CRAC or AC units with multiple stages of compression or variable capacity DX compressors
  • Containment products, strip curtains or blanking panels 
  • Direct evaporative cooling media or ultrasonic humidifiers


  • Improved IT performance – containment and temperature monitoring reduce hot spots that affect computer performance. 
  • Reduced noise – variable speed fans reduce noise. 
  • Improved comfort – without containment it is often necessary to overcool the space to avoid hot spots. With containment, room temperature can be raised, thus improving comfort for occupants. 
  • Improved monitoring – temperature sensors are often added along with variable speed fans. Variable speed fans also provide additional feedback that constant speed fans do not.
  • Redundancy – economizers provide backup cooling capacity most of the time should a compressor fail. Adding a VAV box to a small computer room that is already served by a split DX system, for example, provides redundancy should the split DX system fail.  

To view our containment solutions, click here

Raissa Carey, eContent Specialist


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