PUE 1.14 for computerroom Ricoh

PUE 1.14 for computerroom Ricoh

State of the art computerroom deployed in new headquarters

Ricoh has moved into its new head office in the Paleiskwartier area of Den Bosch. The sustainable building was designed by architect Herman Hertzberger and is situated on a first-rate site in close proximity to Centraal Station and motorways. ICTroom designed and built an energy-efficient computer room that has an exceedingly low PUE and which uses a geothermal heat pump.

Ricoh is a supplier of products and services pertaining to IT & document management. In addition to high-quality multifunctionals and printers, it offers innovative services in terms of document management. In 2013, Ricoh Nederland moved into a new head office in the Paleiskwartier area of Den Bosch. 1400 employees are working there on projects for clients that include major organizations and multinationals.

Computerroom uses a geothermal heat pump

Together with a second tower that has yet to be built, Belvédère (as the tower block was called in the original plans) will form the gateway to the Paleiskwartier. The building contains 460 workstations, a large number of meeting rooms and areas, a sizeable auditorium and a substantial theatrical staircase. The restaurant looks over an area of outstanding natural beauty. Everything is geared towards flexible working arrangements. Employees can take their laptops and sit where they want. For the purposes of building and setting up the computer room, Ricoh Nederland decided to enlist the services of a specialist company. Arjan Rops, Senior Project Manager, discusses the way of working: ‘Building a computer room is highly specialized work. It's multifaceted. A thorough knowledge of the subject is essential. That's why we decided early on in the process not to have this done by the construction firm. The construction firm ensured that essential things such as pipes and wiring were laid up to the room. We gave them an indication of where everything had to be. The rest was then down to us.’

Building a computer room is highly specialized work

Restrictions in terms of time

Time was limited when it came to building the data centre. This factor was decisive when selecting which suppliers were to be invited to tender for the project. Ultimately ICTroom was chosen. Arjan Rops: ‘Due to the tight deadlines we wanted to be sure that the equipment required was in stock and stayed reserved for us. That's why we performed compliance checks and visited both ICTroom and suppliers. The people we spoke to there were often also the people who were subsequently working on the project. We were very pleased with that. What's more, ICTroom distinguished itself in the preliminary process by way of the huge degree of personal attention they gave us, as well as the fact that they are innovative and actively contribute their ideas. That's what you want. As the customer you don't want to be left to your own devices. We've got a great deal of knowledge with regard to IT and relocating, but building a computer room is a separate discipline. ICTroom did a sterling job for us. We have no regrets about selecting them.’

Preliminary advice

Arjan Rops explains that there was no provision for an NSA in the run-up to the project. ‘What complicates things is the fact that we're in a rapidly developing area. We're running the risk that a cable could be broken during the work, for instance, meaning the entire building would end up without power. Consequently, even before the project was put out to tender we asked ICTroom to help us with a case study. They dealt with it tremendously. We presented the completed case study to the directorate and were given the go-ahead pretty much straight away. It was crystal clear from the case study that installing an NSA would be the most efficient solution in our situation. The case study gave a real boost to our opinion of ICTroom. It confirmed our confidence in them as a professional party we wanted to include in the tender process.’

"Plug it in and off you go"

Geothermal storage

‘All the buildings in this area are obliged to use geothermal storage’, explains Arjan Rops. ‘We were well aware of the fact that geothermal storage is completely different to air conditioning. Hence we visited a number of companies beforehand to find out more about their practical experiences with it. ICTroom has done projects in the past that involved geothermal storage, so we spoke to those companies too. After all, at Ricoh we're keen to know what's what. The main thing we learned on the reference visits was that geothermal storage works well, but you always have to have a back-up cooling solution in place. If the geothermal heat pump is not working adequately or the temperature in the room gets too high, then the back-up system kicks in automatically. When we elected to build the computer room on the eighth floor, right under the roof, we had in mind the installation of our own cooling system. A server room always needs cooled, irrespective of the season. The rest of the building requires cooling in the summer and heating in the winter. A considerable difference, then. Hence a separate channel was constructed. This runs directly to the computer room from the source.’

At Ricoh we're keen to know what's what

Migration weekend runs smoothly

The process of moving to the new premises was prepared and implemented meticulously by Ricoh Nederland's IT department. Arjan Rops: ‘The IT systems were the complicated bit. There is always a risk that something dies. We opted for Carnival weekend. Right before that weekend things get a bit quieter, and after Carnival it's the school holiday. This is a great time to sort out any teething problems. In the end only one power supply unit failed. Apart from that it was just a matter of plug it in and off you go. A lot of the staff didn't really realize beforehand what the impact of such a relocation is. Until they came in on the Monday morning, booted up their laptops and were able to carry on from where they left off before the weekend. Then suddenly they understood just how much had been done in the interim. That was really great.’

Plug it in and off you go


As Team Leader Operations in the Information Systems department, Roland van der Sommen is closely involved in the project and the relocation. ‘We enlisted the services of professional parties for the relocation. Due to the low outdoor temperature we used air-conditioned transport. Prior to the computer room being set up, we used heat cannon to test the cooling. Subsequently on the Saturday between six in the morning and six in the evening we moved 53 physical servers, 120 virtual servers and the entire SAN. The racks are in a Cooling Alley® in a secure cage. As such, maintenance work to the equipment only requires access to the computer room. On Sunday morning an acceptance test was carried out by key users from the various departments. The rest of the day was reserved for remedying any problems. As it turned out, this was not necessary. We already had confirmation that everything was working properly in the morning. Tests were also carried out afterwards. Thus a smoke jar was placed in the room to test the smoke detectors. Besides being tested beforehand, the equipment was also tested live.’

We want to give something back to society

Exceedingly low PUE

Ricoh is one of the top 100 most sustainable companies in the world. Unsurprisingly, then, sustainability is a key pillar in its policy. A computer room with a maximum PUE of 1.5 is one element of this policy. This was a stated requirement in the call for tenders issued to the suppliers. ICTroom designed a computer room with an extremely low PUE of at least 1.14 for Ricoh Nederland. One of the lowest values ever achieved in the Netherlands. A PUE of 1.3 is currently widespread, but a PUE under 1.2 is still rare. A PUE of 1.14 is exceedingly low, particularly in an office environment. Arjan Rops: ‘It dovetails perfectly with the image Ricoh wishes to exude. Corporate social responsibility and energy-efficiency are in this company's DNA. We want to give something back to society and to the environment.’