Data Centre Development in Hong Kong
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Data Centre Development in Hong Kong
  
Water Supply for Cooling for Data Centres
Water Supply for Cooling for Data Centres

Application Procedures

High-tier data centres may consider adopting water-cooled air-conditioning system, which is more energy efficient then air-cooled system, for data centre cooling purposes. In Hong Kong, the authority of approval for fresh water supply for cooling purpose for non-domestic buildings within designated areas under the Government's voluntary Fresh Water Cooling Towers (FWCT) Scheme for Air Conditioning Systems (the Scheme) administered by the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) falls under the Water Supplies Department (WSD). For data centre projects using fresh water cooling towers for water-cooled air conditioning systems, project developers should apply for participation in the Scheme to ensure the cooling towers meet the environmental and public health requirements. Besides, the participation will also facilitate WSD's consideration of approval for fresh water supply to the cooling towers.

The Scheme was launched by an inter-departmental working group, comprising EMSD, WSD, Buildings Department (BD) and various government departments. Specifically, EMSD, WSD and BD would provide relevant approvals of (i) cooling tower design and installation (in environmental and public health aspects), (ii) fresh water supply & plumbing works, and (iii) building works respectively. The Scheme applies to all non-domestic new and existing buildings within the designated areas (see Scheme Location Plans of Designated Areas ). Applications for buildings not within the designated areas will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Apart from the approvals from EMSD, WSD and BD, cooling towers should also comply with other relevant statutory requirements1.

To facilitate application for joining the Scheme, EMSD has promulgated a thematic website, which contains details of the Scheme including a Scheme Brochure, an Application Process Chart, and the Code of Practice for Water-cooled Air- conditioning Systems (in 3 parts) for the design, installation, testing, commissioning, operation and maintenance of cooling towers, and other relevant references. There are also Guidance Notes (Guidance Notes on Code of Practice for Water-cooled Air Conditioning Systems) which facilitate satisfying the design requirements of the aforesaid code of practice.

  1. Other statutory requirements involve areas of sewage services; water pollution, air pollution and noise control; nuisance control; and occupational safety and health, with which the installation and operation of cooling towers should also comply. Applicants should seek relevant professional advice from Authorised Persons, Registered Professional Engineers of building services and mechanical engineering disciplines, Licensed Plumbers and other competent professionals.

Project planning

As experience shared by industry, developers in contemplating a data centre project involving installation of fresh water cooling towers should note the following areas that will facilitate smooth proceeding of application and approval process with relevant departments:

For more information on the Scheme, please refer to the EMSD website or make enquiry to EMSD via info@emsd.gov.hk.