Profile: Involta

Commercial-Industrial Energy Analysis

The grand opening of Involta’s new world-class data center in Boise, Idaho, in March 2015, revealed more than the company’s commitment to secure information technology (IT) storage and management. It showcased Involta’s growing investment in energy efficiency. 

The 31,400-square-foot facility features 100 percent LED lighting, energy-saving lighting controls, and high-performance heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that include Liebert DA085 units with EconoPhase. These systems use microchannel condensers and free cooling to increase efficiencies into the 6.0 COP range. Other energy efficient technologies include Liebert NX uninterruptable power supplies, cold aisle containment systems, Energy Star® electrical distribution equipment, and variable speed drives on air handling fan motors. 

“Our principal concern with energy is actual outlays as energy costs are projected to go up, not down, but our secondary concern is to be good stewards,” said Jeff Thorsteinson, chief security officer, Involta. “The saying ‘waste not, want not’ applies to corporations as well as individuals.” 

Energy Insight, Inc., was at the table during the Boise project’s design phase, helping Involta decision makers identify and evaluate options that would save energy, lower operating costs, and qualify for utility rebates and other incentives. 

Involta first worked with Energy Insight personnel during construction of two data centers (a retrofit and a new facility) in Duluth, Minn., which opened in 2011 and 2012. Energy Insight administers Minnesota Power’s commercial energy conservation program and was brought in to evaluate energy saving opportunities and qualifying rebates. Between the two projects, Energy Insight helped Involta avoid an estimated 2,993,637 kWh per year in electricity, save nearly $133,000 in annual energy costs, and secure more than $108,000 in rebates for projects that ranged from lighting and HVAC to uninterruptable power supplies, transformers, and variable frequency drive controls. 

“Their recommendations allowed us to move forward with confidence and purchase more energy efficient equipment and systems, knowing we could get utility rebates to offset the higher costs,” Thorsteinson said. “Energy Insight’s documentation, experience, and professionalism took the risk out of the equation.” 

Similar savings are expected with the Boise data center thanks to Energy Insight’s expertise, with an estimated 866,431 kWh in annual energy savings, around $54,000 in cost savings per year, and a projected payback of less than one year thanks to rebates acquired through Idaho Power. 

Customer service sets Energy Insight apart from other commercial energy auditing companies. Staff members show a genuine interest in customers’ operations, expectations, and needs. 

“It started with (Senior Energy Engineer) Tanuj Gulati making the trip to see an Involta data center to take in, first hand, the methods of operation and equipment in use,” Thorsteinson recalled. “During that trip, he also started on the relationship, built on a foundation of trust, competence, and communication. Tanuj has earned my trust and my regard by always affording us the greatest care.” 

The Boise data center was Involta’s eighth facility and more growth came about through acquisition in June, making for a total of 11. 

“We hope to involve Energy Insight in the future expansion of data centers and when we build new, if possible,” Thorsteinson said. “I would recommend Energy Insight to other energy intensive companies, whether they are data centers or other heavy energy users without hesitation.”