AEC Tech News (#270)

19 May, 2010 By: Cadalyst Staff

Virtual Facility Simulation Cuts Data Center Cooling Costs

Cisco Systems saves an estimated $120,000 per year by redesigning exhaust circulation using Future Facilities' 3D modeling technology.

By Rob Aldrich

Cisco Systems, an Internet networking company that employs close to 70,000 people, is taking steps to reduce its resource usage. The company is currently aiming for a 2012 carbon footprint that will be 25% smaller than it was in 2007. Given that almost 80 percent of Cisco's footprint is generated by labs and data centers, the solutions developed to support an in-house reduction will also have relevance to the company's customers in support of a green agenda.

Cisco has several teams focusing on external energy-efficient solutions development. The Data Center Advanced Services group helps users determine the capacity, density, and efficiency requirements of improvements to the data center architecture. This group utilizes a standard methodology focused on quantifying power and cooling usage; establishing an efficiency benchmark for the current data center power and cooling design; establishing operative efficiency benchmarks across compute, network, and storage systems; and designing and implementing more efficient data center architectures.

Setting a Green Example

We demonstrated this method on one of our own data centers, located in our San Jose campus. Our plan for this data center was to replace volume servers with blade servers, providing roughly 23 times the computing capacity in the same space. Blade servers, however, require much more power — typically 20 kilowatts per rack, compared with 5 kilowatts per rack for volume servers.

The data center has been in operation since 1999, with limited considerations for efficient operations. It occupies approximately 7,000 square feet and is filled with 3,202 units of IT equipment, drawing 770 kW. There is 1 MW of total power available and 820 kW of cooling capacity. The energy bill for the facility was originally $1.4 million per year, comprising $660,000 per year in cooling energy costs and $707,000 per year in IT equipment energy costs. Controlling temperature and airflow in such a facility is essential because tightly packed servers generate a great deal of heat, which can impair their reliability and durability. Read more »

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Rob Aldrich is the principal energy solutions architect for Cisco.

ArchiCAD Insights Tutorial:
ArchiCAD's Rotated Views

Use ArchiCAD's Oriented Views feature to work with models at various angles.

By Matthew Brewster

Laying out standard views with ArchiCAD is a simple process. However, sometimes you will want to lay out a floor plan with a different orientation than the site. In addition, during the course of a project the orientation of a building may rotate. How do you deal with laying out a site plan that is oriented differently from a floor plan? With ArchiCAD 13's Oriented Views, you can line up your project just the way you need it: simply rotate the view on screen to a perpendicular position.

When you need to re-orient a building on a site, you should keep the building oriented perpendicular to the screen — it will be the site that rotates around the building. This way you can keep the majority of the plan views in the preferred position. It will only be the site plan that needs to be adjusted. Follow this step-by-step guide to easily re-orient your plans.

First, isolate the entire site: trees, streets, etc. Having your layers and layer combinations organized makes this process fast and easy, and is crucial to keeping your project under control. Also, make sure you have the North arrow on so you can rotate it with the site. If you have site elements on multiple stories, use the Marquee tool with the All Floors (thick Marquee) selection method. Next use the Rotate command, set a reference point, and enter the angle of rotation. Read more »

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Matthew Brewster is an ArchiCAD instructor and the founder and president of ARCHiDEAS.

Mark Your Calendar: AEC Events


Webinar: WinEst Technology for Construction
June 3–24, 2010
Various times
WinEstimator is making its WinEst University seminar series, "State-of-the-Art Technology for the AEC Industry," available via free, two-part webinars. Topics include a preview of a new building information modeling estimating tool currently in development. Read more »

July 25–29, 2010
Los Angeles, California
SIGGRAPH 2010 — the 37th International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques — will bring computer graphics and interactive technology professionals together for technical and creative programs. Read more »

COFES Russia Seminar
September 14, 2010
Moscow, Russian Federation
Cyon Research Corporation's first COFES Russia Seminar is designed for the community of engineering software vendors, developers, resellers, analysts, and users. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to


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