Degree Name

BS in Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering Department


Joseph D. Mello


The goal of the Cisco Systems data center efficiency study is to improve the energy efficiency of Lab C in Cisco’s Building 7. The main phases involved are research, energy analysis, CFD simulations, and lab testing. The first part of the project entailed research in the data center field. This included attending two lectures provided by Cisco, visiting the annual Silicon Valley Data Center Energy Efficiency Summit hosted by Network Appliance, going on many data center tours, and taking a 3-day 6Sigma CFD training class. Next, the 1st Law of Thermodynamics was applied to the CRAH (computer room air handler) unit as a preliminary analysis in order to gain insight on the air handler’s performance. Over winter quarter, HVAC equipment performance data was collected in order to develop numerical models for a chiller, CRAH unit, cooling tower, and water pumps using Engineering Equation Solver software. The models calculated the power requirements and efficiencies of this equipment over varying parameters. These parameters include flow rates due to variable frequency drives (VFDs) on the water pumps and CRAH units, chilled water temperature, outdoor air temperature, and lab room temperature. Once the individual equipment models were complete, they were integrated into a single, system level model for optimizing all parameters toward best energy efficiency of the system.

Another area of the project was implementing and testing cold aisle containment on a CFD model of Lab C. Containment curtains, blanking panels, and skirts were installed in the virtual model and the resulting temperatures of the lab were compared with the unmodified Lab C. Hot spots due to hot and cold air mixing and unequal distribution of the cold air supply were investigated.