NorthShore University HealthSystem, Data Center

North Suburbs, Chicago, IL

Exterior of 1940s building holding NorthShore University HealthSystem data center.


This project involved a $25 million renovation to the HVAC infrastructure of the central data and 24-hour call center for NorthShore University Health System. The 10,000-square-foot data center is located in a 1940s era office building. In addition to providing new computer room cooling units, the project significantly upgraded the infrastructure to support year-round cooling load and redundancy requirements.

Central Data Center, Design

HVAC upgrades included:

  • New computer room air conditioning units with N+1 redundancy.
  • New critical process chilled water system with N+1 redundancy, including three 225-ton air-cooled liquid chillers on the roof and three 525-gpm chilled water pumps within the building.
  • Two of three chillers and pumps on emergency power.
  • A new underground fuel oil storage tank and intermediate fuel oil pumping system to serve the 2,000-kW emergency generator on the roof.

Design challenges included the location of the new chilled water distribution system. The system was previously located in a very limited ceiling space within the existing building. Rooftop chillers were a practical solution; however, due to the facility’s location within a residential neighborhood, extensive acoustic analysis and treatment were required. The chillers were provided with a custom sound-attenuating enclosure and acoustic screen.

The project also included expansion of the existing pre-action sprinkler system and installation of a new FM gaseous fire-suppression system for the computer room.

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