Nearly 20 years after first entering the Richmond, VA, market to build a semiconductor plant for Motorola and Siemens—a project that still ranks as one of the fastest-to-market facilities of its kind ever built—DPR returned to the same site to repurpose and convert the former White Oak Semiconductor plant into a modern data center for Quality Technology Services (QTS).

QTS purchased the infrastructure-rich White Oak campus and enlisted the help of DPR to repurpose the facility to support a cadre of modern-day, critical data center applications. 

DPR repurposed an approximately 321,000-sq.-ft. facility with the first 12 megawatts (MW) of a total 36 MW infrastructure in just six months, coming online in July 2015. A combined strategy of hyper-efficient sourcing and just-in-time material management saved an estimated three months off a typical nine-month schedule for a project of this scope. 

The team uncovered additional usable space in one of the buildings that could be repurposed as leasable data center space. A third-floor network of air handlers for exhaust—required for the building’s former semiconductor life—was repurposed, given that the new, mostly uninhabited data center would use far less outside air. 

DPR’s familiarity with the existing mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) infrastructure in the mothballed semiconductor facility, combined with the team’s vast data center knowledge, made them uniquely qualified to perform a comprehensive asset analysis, including identifying infrastructure reuse opportunities for the QTS data center project. While there are challenges associated with repurposing complex MEP systems, DPR had already repurposed several similar facilities into successful data centers. 

A combined strategy of hyper-efficient sourcing and just-in-time material management saved an estimated three months off a typical nine-month schedule for a project of this scope. 

Green Features

Repurposed and sustainable features include:

  • Chilled water system reuse: The existing capacity was upgraded with new redundant control systems.
  • Power usage efficiency (PUE): The addition of energy-efficient, indirect evaporative cooling helped drive PUEs below 1.3—a 13-percent betterment over original program goals.
  • Existing envelope: DPR worked closely with the design team to develop upgraded skin treatments to achieve current energy-code requirements.
  • Recycling and reclamation: Working in close collaboration with the owner’s reclamation subcontractor, DPR maximized recycled content—diverting some 20,000 tons from the landfill.

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