Buckley Air Force Base Data Center Upgrade
Location: Aurora, Colorado
Client: United States Air Force
Size: 80,000-square-foot data center update
“Tin-Can” Creativity Helps Guarantee Meet Security Requirements at U.S. Air Force Data Center
The Aerospace Data Facility at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colorado is a multi-mission ground station responsible for supporting worldwide defense operations. In 2009, when the site’s central database needed to be upgraded, the U.S. Air Force called on Guarantee Electrical for creative and precise electrical design and installation under tight security.
While Buckley’s 80,000-square-foot data facility had been upgraded in the early 2000s, rapid advances in technology made additional systems updates necessary to keep the base operating at peak performance. To simplify future maintenance, the Air Force requested a clean installation – with all new conduits and cabling wired into the existing building structure with little to no slack. Guarantee rose to the challenge, using 3D BIM modeling to simulate the precise layout prior to beginning construction.
Major installation components included:
- 16 power distribution units (PDU)
- Power and controls for 17 Computer Room Air Conditioning (CRAC) units
- Four new 400-amp panels
- A complete ground grid system
- Overhead lighting
- Emergency Power Off (EPO) system
- Fire alarm system
To further simplify the installation, Guarantee designed a custom, three-foot cable tray to contain the main electrical lines within the limited space. Guarantee eliminated excess wiring to the 16 new PDUs by measuring and then having its pre-fab department pre-cut load side feeder cables to within one inch of the necessary length. The stratagem reduced the time required for field modifications and created cost savings.
Guarantee completed the work while complying with strict military security regulations. Team members were not permitted to bring cell phones, two-way radios or other electronic communication devices on site. To enable crews working in different parts of the base to collaborate, Guarantee project manager Jeremy Wilson improvised a two-wire hand set communication system that met Air Force requirements.
“The system is based on the tin-can radios many of us used as kids,” Wilson said. “We strung two wires between battery-operated hand sets creating a closed-circuit that didn’t require any support from external telephonic or power sources.”