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    Chill Data

    by ArchitectureWeek

    When we think of "data center," what comes to mind most readily may be a low, nondescript warehouse in a flat, featureless industrial park. But think again. RTKL Associates, in designing the Highmark Data Center in West Hanover Township, Pennsylvania, built the structure into a hillside, to great functional advantage, and achieved a LEED silver rating in the bargain.

    Highmark Inc. is one of the nation's largest health insurance companies. Its data center, which officially opened in November 2005, processes 500,000 claims and responds to 33,000 customer inquires per day. Its electronic network connects to over 100 hospitals and 15,000 healthcare practitioners.

    Dubbed a "24/7 mission-critical facility," this data center is designed never to shut down. It is equipped with redundant electrical feeds from two different power substations, backed up by an uninterruptible power supply and two 2-megawatt diesel generators capable of running the facility for 72 hours in the event that power is ever lost from both substations.

    "Given that data centers typically require high levels of resource consumption," says Doug McCoach, AIA, RTKL vice president in charge of the facility's design, "the fact that the facility adheres to LEED requirements speaks to the strength of the design. To our knowledge there are no other facilities in the country that have received both the Uptime Institute Tier Three rating as well as LEED Silver certification."   >>>

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    Northwest corner of the Highmark Data Center, designed by RTKL Applied Technology Group.
    Photo: Dave Whitcomb/ RTKL Associates

    ArchWeek Image

    Command center.
    Photo: Dave Whitcomb/ RTKL Associates

     

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