The data center industry has seen a rapid expansion in the last few years, causing a lapse in the ability for codes to react quickly enough. As new, innovative designs emerge to handle specialized applications, increased rack densities and wider thermal operating condition envelopes, system designs are also evolving with increasing frequency. Data center developers and designers are taking lessons learned from regional, national or even international sites and applying the best practices to new designs. In a three to six year code cycle, designs can become obsolete and outdated before a revised code is even adopted. This is especially pronounced in regards to the energy code adopted by the majority of the states where considerable controversy broke out over the applicability of prescriptive methodologies in the prominent ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-2010 with regards to data centers. The result was a bifurcation within the organization and a specialized committee was tasked with developing a parallel standard with the intentions of codifying requirements specific to data centers. At the time of this writing, the committee is still developing BSR/ASHRAE Standard 90.4P which carves out data center designs from the general commercial building energy code and apply data center-centric requirements culled from an active industry group and extensive public review comment periods. Navigating the new standard can be difficult, however the proper interpretation and understanding of it is critical to the ongoing success of data center operations.

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