Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

 Data CentreMichel Chartier, P. Eng. ATD 

Over the years, the power consumption of data centers have grown steadily to the point where now, a small data center consumes enough energy to power 50 homes during cold winter periods, close to 1000kW.

These data centers are for the most part needed in the world today and their energy consumption will continue to increase, either by an addition in the number of rooms or through the growth of production capacity for existing rooms.

A market survey we conducted indicates that this growth will generate the equivalent of six million square feet of facilities within the next three years in Canada alone!  Considering a reasonable average of 100W per square feet of power consumption for servers only, we get a total load of 600,000kW.  Adding the associated cooling requirements, this charge surpasses 1,000,000kW (or 1,000MW).

Considering that Quebec produces 40,000MW of total power, in light of this predicted growth, it is natural to ask: Is it possible to save energy in a data center?

To effectively answer this question, we must first understand how this energy is distributed within a data center.

The energy consumption of data centers is divided into two broad categories, the energy required to run the servers and other IT equipment that are installed directly inside of the computer room, and the energy required to cool the room in order to maintain sustainable operations for servers.

In general, the energy required for servers represents two thirds of the overall power consumption, and the remaining one third is required for air conditioning. These are the two important energy drivers that must be targeted in efforts to save energy.

Energy Saving Electricity

Except for the logical choice of purchasing servers certified by EnergyStar, we have little control over what servers consume energy and their efficiency. However, some of the choices in electrical infrastructure equipment can improve the overall power consumption.

This is the case of the UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) which displays efficiency between 94% and 97% with a load from 25% to 100% of the capacity of the device.  They are therefore a logical choice when buying or writing specifications for late submission.

In addition to its efficiency, it is becoming increasingly common to power devices in a computer room on a three-phase 240V/415V voltage as they do in Europe, without the internal transformer. A growing number of UPS system manufacturers are producing 240V/415V for the North American market.

This alternative is particularly interesting when the input power of a data center is using medium voltage (13 to 25kV). It allows the designer to lower the voltage to any usable voltage. Usually, this would be 240-415V three phases, 4 wires for the IT distribution and 480 or 600V for the mechanical feeds.

The advantage of using this voltage level is that 99.9% of servers or equipment existing for over 5 years operate on a supply voltage between 100 and 240V, without having to do anything about it.

This method of feeding the power supply at 240V is very interesting since the servers are more efficient at 240V than 120V. Typically, the power supply of a server has an efficiency of 93% at 120V and 94% to 95% at 240V.

In addition, this power method eliminates all of the output transformers of the UPS that were previously required to lower the voltage at 120V/208V. Given that transformers have a loss of about 3%, there is significant power savings in large computer rooms. It should also be taken into account that much of these transformers are located in the computer room and that those losses of 3% and an additional 1% on power supplies increase the need for air conditioning.

For calculation purposes and to demonstrate the impact, consider an IT load of 1000kW.  In the standard installation, the computer room would have 40kW of heat loss more than an installation at 240V/415V, which is enough to heat two average sized houses during the winter.

This 40kW will require a cooling capacity equivalent to an additional 11.4 tonnes. The need for additional cooling will effectively have an impact on the increase in energy consumption. In our scenario the 11.4 tonnes will consume 11kW which will be added to the 40kW of losses mentioned above, for a total of 55kW. Over the 1000kW of IT load, this 55kW represents an increase of 5.5% in energy cost. Over a year, at 8¢/kWh, it translate to 39k$ more to operate. 

We can therefore see that the choice of UPS and power supply method can play a role in saving energy. This conservation in electricity applies much more in new data centers as opposed to existing centers.

For existing facilities, a major source of electrical inefficiency is unquestionably the non-replacement and/or removal of old unused equipment which are always connected!  A good practice is to perform an annual inventory of equipment and to determine which can be switched off and removed from the room. 

An understandable energy saving strategy is to try not to consume energy when it is not required.

Next month in Part 2: Energy Savings in Mechanical Operations. 

Michel Chartier is Quebec’s leading consultant for the design of Mission Critical Centres. He was the first Engineer in Quebec to receive Uptime’s Institute accredited Tier Designer certification. His professionalism and the originality of the solutions he presents have earned him a solid reputation with large-scale clients. UPS representatives consult him when they need expert advice for their special projects. He has visited hundreds of sites, always taking into consideration the technology used by clients to evaluate their current and future needs. Animated by passion and curiosity, he keeps up with technology and new developments in his areas of expertise.

Also, be sure to check out Kelvin Emtech here, visit them on LinkedIn or Google+ here




SignifyThe electrical and lighting industries were shocked this week with the announcement that Signify purchased the recently renamed Cooper Lighting Solutions from Eaton.

The former Eaton Lighting division was scheduled to be spun off from Eaton via an IPO late this year / early next year.  While rumored earlier this year to be up for sale, rather than being spun off, there were no takers for the business. Although, it was reportedly considered by some.  According to Signify, discussions with Cooper Lighting, and Eaton, began a month ago. The interest could have been provoked by the Q3 slowdown in the lighting market with Signify sensing an opportunity to make an acquisition, perhaps at a discount.

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Rick McCartenBy Rick McCarten

For a long time now, many experts have been pointing out how companies should be expanding their service offerings beyond their product sales. Companies are wrapping services around their product and packaging — everything from special deliveries, warranties, repair and technical assistance to 24-hour service. This “servic-ization” helps differentiate companies from their competitors. How big is this going to get? Some reports have this trend becoming the core of our future economy.


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Carol McGloganBy Line Goyette

With Industry 4.0 on our doorstep, we are facing significant technological and resource changes, some of which question our industry’s core values. Artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, digitization, transport electrification, diversity and inclusion are among the inescapable changes that will affect our industry head on, both in its best practices and its business models. We have several advantages to help us deal with the changes, including an unwavering advocate for our industry: Carol McGlogan. She is the first woman to hold the position of Electro-Federation Canada’s (EFC) President and CEO. 

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CEW IDEAL Nationals 400

The IDEAL Nationals are underway with an 18 member Canadian Team supported by the IDEAL Industries Canada crew. This year over 55,000 electrical contractors and electricians competed worldwide so this is the cream of the crop competing here in Orlando .

The 2019 IDEAL National Championship is a highly charged, no-holds barred competition to determine the best electrician in North America and includes teams from China, Australia and Mexico.

To make it to Orlando, contractors have to qualify first and numerous qualifying events were held throughout Canada.

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GDP Rose 0.1 PercentReal gross domestic product edged up 0.1% in August, following no change in July. Goods-producing industries were up 0.2% after two months of declines, led by a rebound in manufacturing, while services-producing industries edged up 0.1%. Overall, there were gains in 14 out of 20 industrial sectors.

On a three-month rolling average basis, real gross domestic product rose 0.5% in August, compared with a 0.8% increase in July.




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Changing Scene

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Select manufacturer executives had precisely five minutes to present a key product with superior growth potential to the members of IMARK Canada. Distributor member executives then rated each supplier based on the quality of the presentation and the perceived sales potential of the product being demonstrated.


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OmnicableOmniCable would like to thank the electrical distributors and industry partners who attended OmniCable Toronto’s open house on October 23, 2019. OmniCable opened its Toronto branch back in April 2019. Toronto is OmniCable’s first branch outside of the United States. The Toronto facility, which is approximately 50,000 square feet, is OmniCable’s 13th branch and services electrical distributors throughout Canada.

During the open house, attendees toured the facility, met OmniCable Canada and US teams, enjoyed light refreshments, and walked away with giveaways.


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Ilsco and Adanac SalesILSCO Canada has announced the appointment of Adanac Sales as agency of representation for the ILSCO brand in the province of British Columbia.

This partnership exemplifies ILSCO’s dedication to collaborate with companies that share ILSCO’s commitment to providing excellent products and service to the electrical industry in British Columbia.




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ABBTotal orders -1%1, order backlog +3%

  • Steady revenues and book-to-bill2
  • Operational EBITA margin2 11.7%, +20 basis points; impacted 70 basis points by stranded costs
  • Income from continuing operations, net of tax $422 million, -1%
  • Net income $515 million, -15%
  • Operational EPS2 $0.33, -7%3
  • Cash flow from operating activities $670 million, +19%, solid cash delivery expected for the full year
  • Björn Rosengren appointed Chief Executive Officer, effective March 1, 2020



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Peers & Profiles

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Jon Llewellyn is the Branch Manager City Electric Supply’s Nanaimo, BC location. “I've worn many ...
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Stephanie MedeirosBy Blake Marchand

For Stephanie Medeiros, this is an exciting time for Canada’s electric vehicle industry because it is approaching a tipping point. “One or two percent of vehicles in Canada are electric, but you’re going to see this change rapidly. There are different factors that come with that, but to make it a reality you need to have a charging infrastructure in place. One of the factors involved with that is establishing standards for charging, as well as settling on a uniform method for charging — ultimately, constructing a landscape that closely resembles that of internal combustion.”


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City Electric Supply - Jon LlewellynJon Llewellyn is the Branch Manager City Electric Supply’s Nanaimo, BC location. “I've worn many hats within this great organization,” Llewellyn told Canadian Electrical Wholesaler. Beginning as a Van Driver, Jon worked his way through several different positions at City Electric Supply after a 10-year career in the trades as a Drywaller. Starting as a driver, Llewellyn would move into the warehouse, and on into Inside Sales, which would turn into an Account Manager position before he would land in his current role as Branch Manager. The ability to learn on the job is an essential skill in an evolving industry, particularly one that is heavily technical. Something Llewellyn has certainly embraced.

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Looking Back

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The best memory I keep from CEDA is the way that they accepted me when I came into the business. ...
In the 1930s to 1940s, CEDA’s Western Canada membership was very stable with old line independent ...
Prior to the late 1950s there was little if any involvement in CEDA by the so-called “national ...
  As 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Confederation, we take a look back at an aspect of ...

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