Touchstone provides data center and critical facility design, from conceptual consulting through detail design and City plan check approval.

Data Center Design

Touchstone’s core competency is reliable electrical power. We partner with or carry subconsultants for other disciplines that may be required, including architectural, structural, mechanical/plumbing, fire alarm and security. We provide design-only services for design/bid/build projects and design/build services, where we also perform construction and commissioning. Touchstone designs upgrades to existing data centers, new data centers in existing facilities and green-field data centers. Sizes range from small server rooms, MDFs and IDFs to multi- megawatt, highly redundant operations. The majority of our projects are in the tier 2 – tier 3 range of availability. Our design approach is to maximize reliability and maintainability within budgets, while avoiding costly upgrades that provide minimal benefit (prime-rated generators redundant utility feeds, etc.). We have extensive experience designing changes in live 24/7 facilities and working with vendors and installers to implement upgrades, while minimizing or eliminating planned downtime and risk of unplanned downtime.

The first step in design of upgrades or improvements to existing facilities is to validate as-built construction drawings as a starting point, or to update or develop as-builts by reverse engineering. Understanding client requirements is key to beginning the design process. Touchstone prepares and reviews design option pros and cons and recommends good/better/best approaches. Our designs are not vendor-driven, such that sole-sourcing equipment results. Our designs set up competitive pricing from leading vendors.

Regularly reviewing design progress with the design team and owner is important to keep the process on track. Attention to detail throughout the project, including vendor equipment and construction methods ensures the best outcome. The commissioning plan, including what will be tested, how it will be tested, responsibilities and schedule implications should be documented during the design phase and specified into major equipment purchases.

Touchstone Engineering’s data center design elements include the following:

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Optional standby generators (not emergency life-safety) are preferred for critical facilities including data centers, server rooms, call centers, control centers and healthcare facilities. We excel with rightsizing, reconfiguration, complex cutovers and temporary power arrangements. We have designed and implemented many generator redundancy upgrades without the need for costly and complex parallel switchgear. Proper application of automatic transfer switches (ATS) and maintenance bypass switchgear is key. Quick-connect, roll-up docking stations and load-bank testing provisions for generators are increasingly in demand.

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For data centers, server rooms, network equipment rooms, healthcare equipment and other critical applications. New installations and end-of-life replacements, especially where rightsizing, reconfiguration, reliability enhancement, complex cutovers or temporary power arrangements are required. We have safely and creatively designed and implemented many UPS replacements and reconfiguration with no downtime required. Large UPS systems are increasingly deployed to provide a degree of battery energy storage for facilities for peak shifting, in addition to providing customary utility power failure protection.

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For critical facilities including generator, ATS and UPS systems and power distribution unit (PDU) systems. We design power distribution for critical facilities that limit or eliminate single-point failure risk and allow for online maintenance “concurrent maintainability”. This requires avoiding most equipment vendor add-on bypass features that end up more costly and limiting than properly designed and implemented bypass arrangements.

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Touchstone designs conventional, redundant floor mounted PDUs distributed to A/B rack PDUs. We also design critical power distribution without floor PDUs, with common panels, transformers and outlets, or more flexible options including overhead plug-in busway systems.

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Effective remote notification of normal and faulty operation of critical support systems has never been more feasible with today’s technology but also never more complex. Whereas only 6-8 hard-wired points were commonly available from older equipment, vendors now provide an unprioritized deluge of hundreds of points and analog data streams via serial feed, that someone needs to deal with. Touchstone helps clients navigate the complexities of BAS/BMS integration, stand-alone DCIM systems, network interface and wireless capabilities.

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