High Rise Containment in Chicago

“This image of Polargy’s Cold Aisle Containment is from the brochure for Netrality’s new site in downtown Chicago. The site is at 717 South Wells and we were thrilled to expand our footprint in the Chicago area. This site uses Kyoto cooling system which requires containment to perform properly. Also, the project was a complete remodel of the room and we had to do some detailed work around the conduits and columns. If you want to take a tour of the site just contact us and we’ll connect you with their sales guy for the site”

717 s wells

By the aisle or by the mile

aisle_mile_thumbPolargy’s differentiation among containment manufacturers and contractors arises from our breadth of experience and depth of client understanding.

We bring to every project, whether large or small, not just attention to detail, precision design and product innovation, but years of diverse project experiences that allow us to visualize smart solutions and execute a project plan cleanly.

Big standardized new builds don’t have some of the “wild card” variables that small customized implementations often do, and while it’s gratifying to publicize large scale new construction containment deployments for Fortune 100 clients, we also enjoy sharing stories of modest retrofit projects brought online seamlessly. Every project, no matter how small, involves learning the client’s pain so we can solve it.


Whether you need just an aisle or literally a mile of airflow containment, Polargy is the call you make, because here’s what our clients say:

“The project went very well and we consider it a complete success, I wouldn’t change a thing. The outcome was exactly what we expected.”

Suffolk Public Schools in Virginia called Polargy when the air conditioning units in their ‘server room’ were over-tasked. The ‘server room’ at Suffolk was never designed for this use, it’s actually a converted storage room with 20 tons of A/C. Common but not ideal.

Director of Technology John Littlefield used rack heat extractors (photos below) but Trane HVAC engineers recommended containing the hot air and recooling it.

suffolk_schools_4_smallsuffolk_schools_5_smallThe goal of the containment project was typical: eliminate the rack heat extractors and improve the energy efficiency of the server room cooling. Littleton contacted Polargy and accomplished his goal quickly with a modest budget.

suffolk_schools_1_smallsuffolk_schools_2_smallSince Polargy completed this project, the server room temperature is more stable, the cooling system runs more efficiently with less impact on the rest of the building, and the next step is to add an aisle-end door. The Polargy single-sliding door will look great.


Space is Limited in Manhattan

I visited a banking customer in Manhattan last month and finally had the opportunity to revisit an installation Polargy had completed several years back. The bank had discovered too many hot spots in their data center and looked to Polargy for a solution. Their problems were caused by the room’s space limitations of a short ceiling and a cable cluttered  12” raised floor. As densities grew, so did their hot spots.

Al Helmke of JEM Tech in the Bank

Al Helmke of JEM Tech in the Bank

After assessing the available space and airflow patterns, Polargy installed PolarPlex TM Drop-Away Panels for cold aisle containment and a strip curtain door to close off the end of the aisle. The project was a success in that it solved the bank’s hot spot problems: intake air temperature dropped from 90°F to 70°F.

Al Hemlke, of JEM Tech, is pictured above in the cold aisle of the data center. Al is a well-known, respected industry veteran who is deeply familiar with the NY/NJ market and leads our relationship with this customer. The PolarPlex Drop-Away Panels are situated just above him and the strip curtain door can be seen at the far end of the aisle behind him. Generally, we avoid strip curtains because the curtains can sometimes dance due to airflow characteristics at the end of aisles. However in this case, the airflow was not strong enough to create a problem.

Because of space limitations in Manhattan, many data centers have relocated outside the city proper, to surrounding communities in New Jersey, other New York neighborhoods, or into Connecticut. Confined spaces can lead to the types of density problems our banking customer experienced. However, as they discovered and I was able to see in action, sometimes all it takes to solve the problem is a reevaluation of containment and airflow solutions. High density issues can still be addressed even while working in a limited amount of space.

Containment Crosses into Architectural Partitions

Hard containment, soft containment, and partial containment only touch on the most common uses of containment in data centers. In the course of working with customers looking to partition air in a particular way, Polargy is occasionally asked to build architectural walls. Because we spend our time creating innovative containment strategies and structures, and we’re good at manufacturing and installing airflow partitions, it becomes a natural next-step that we are asked to apply this expertise to other areas within the data center. Also, containment costs generally fall lower than the expenses associated with installing traditional architectural partitions; harnessing Polargy’s knowledge of partition construction can provide a cost advantage as well. These requests usually accompany a larger containment project where the site needs architectural walls for very specific applications.

A “Light Box” for a PDU Room

 One example application we’ve encountered was the need for materials to function as walls but still display some transparency. As part of a new 232,000-foot data center being built by DPR, the owner came to us because he was interested in creating a “Light Box” effect for the isolation around a long bank of PDUs. Polargy simply re-purposed our standard containment panels for this project. To meet the needs of this customer, we replaced the normal clear panel inserts with opaque ones to diffuse the light. We also added 10” kick plates to the bottom of the panels to prevent damage from carts and cleaning.

A Test Space on a Data Center Lab Floor

A second application of Polargy’s containment solutions was for a complete internal construction project. In the course of building a 16,000-foot lab for a networking equipment company, the owner sought to utilize approximately 200 square feet of unoccupied floor space for test benches and lab desks. Polargy was commissioned to build the room, which consisted of floor to ceiling walls and a door. We again changed the panel inserts, but from clear to bronze in this case, in order to give the room a little more privacy and an attractive aesthetic.

We suspect that Polargy will continue to see these dual purpose partition usages in our new builds. Containment easily creates these architectural partitions and can sometimes address the specific construction needs of a project even better than traditional partitions.  The above examples used containment practically, in terms of the transference of light, and aesthetically, for improving the color and comfort of a space. While these are two uses of containment, panels and doors can be designed to fit other partition needs as well. We always look forward to becoming involved in architecturally-focused projects since they challenge the traditional use of our solutions, expand our scope for creative containment, and ignite news ways of thinking about data center design.

San Diego Gets Hot

We recently finished a new construction Hot Aisle Containment project for a health care company in San Diego. We worked with a Design/Build firm who prepared the below plans.

Plan View Drawings for Hot Aisle Containment Layout


Polargy created shop drawings from these plans to prepare a material list and installation instructions.

Shop Drawing of Hot Aisle Containment


The finished project looks great.

San Diego Hot Aisle Containment


Here is another view.

San Diego Hot Aisle Containment Corner View

?#@*&%! Side-to-Side Air

We all continue to struggle with containing “side-to-side” air on the 6500s. We stumbled upon this fix last year in San Jose, CA. The owner reports sufficient air supply with this simple hose and manifold set up.

Cold Air Piped into Cisco 6500s

Is that my dryer exhaust hose?

Here is a little less sophisticated approach on a newer switch at a site in New Jersey.

HP Launches New Air Containment Product


Canada Keeps Cool

In 2011 Polargy installed a Cold Aisle Containment System for the Government of Canada. Below is a note and photos from the Data Center Manager who is a very satisfied customer.


Good Morning Cary,

I only have good things to say about your product. It solved our cooling issues in a snap!!!

We only went with your product after studying all alternative. One main feature of your product is the simplicity of the system and the ease to work with it during installation (minutes) and when maintenance have to be perform in the Data Center where the top panels have to be moved around. It proved such a success with all our staff. For the one concern about aesthetic, well the design is pretty slick if you ask me.

I don’t have the official tally from the CRAC units but my first investigation show that we are now saving more then 50% from our past cooling needs.

As we continue our expansion, you will hear from us in the future


Louis Hall

Moncton Data Centre / Centre Informatique de Moncton
Infrastructure Services / Services d’infrastructure
Innovation, Information and Technology / Innovation, information et technologie
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada / Ressources humaines et Développement des compétences Canada
Government of Canada / Gouvernement du Canada


Government of Canada Cold AIsle Containment 3

Government of Canada Cold Aisle Containment


Government of Canada Inside Cold Aisle Containment Pod

Government of Canada Inside Cold Aisle Containment Pod



It’s Cold in Jamaica

Power is expensive in the Caribbean so data center efficiency is all the more important. Modern Power and Cooling Technology Limited successfully designed and implemented a cold aisle containment solution at the state of the art tier 3 Digicel Collocation Facility at Caymans using Polargy’s Aisle Containment System with the one of a kind “drop away” panel. A few classic site conditions were columns down the aisles, uneven aisle ends, and a single sided aisle. What is most impressive is that the design was done locally by Modern Power and they installed the system with no difficulties.

Cold AIsle Containment Roof

Cold Aisle Roof

Inside the contained cold aisle

Inside the isolated cold aisle

Go to Modern’s Press Release to see more details.

Vanderbilt Shows Off at AFCOM

Vanderbilt contributed to the AFCOM event with a tour of its latest energy savings efforts in its Nashville data center. The university installed Polargy’s Cold Aisle Containment System on one of its newly installed aisles. 73 people toured through the site and experienced the containment system as shown below.

Our friend Jeff showing how the sliding door works:

Taking a peak inside the contained cold aisle. The site has a glass brick wall which is illuminating the wall above the CRAC unit, a neat look.

Inside view of cold aisle with roof

Inside the Aisle