Gilbane partners with Steel Orca on ultra-green data center

May 17, 2011 |

Gilbane, along with Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates, has been selected to partner with Steel Orca to design and build a 300,000-sf data center in Bucks County, Pa., that will be powered entirely through renewable energy sources (gas, solar, fuel cells, wind and geo-thermal).

"Our partnership with Steel ORCA and Gilbane on this environmentally-attentive project is such an incredible opportunity,” says Doug Rohrbaugh, co-founder and Chairman of the Board of Crabtree, Rorhbaugh & Associates.  “We value our role in this design and the technology that supports our long-standing philosophy of sustainable design." 

Notable elements of the project will include:

  • Air-Side Economizers - Free cooling from the geography with average annual temperatures of 60.2 degrees
  • Hydro-cooling, using the Delaware River as a thermal resource
  • Design goal of LEED Platinum, making the new facility one of the highest performing data center enclosures in the world
  • Server Side Cooling - Cooling directly at the source of the heat for managed services
  • Hot-Isle Heat Containment - Maximizing cooling efficiency by enclosing the hot-isle and capturing the exhaust heat for excavation or reuse
  • Modular Scalable Data Center - using data center cells for flexibility for density (power) requirements, Tier requirements and energy sources
  • Efficient Floor Layout and Design - aligning hot aisle/cold aisles and redefining the cage and rack usage

“We’re excited to partner with Gilbane Building Company and believe we will benefit greatly from their broad mission critical experience,” says David Crocker, CEO of Steel Orca. “Combined with the environmentally-friendly design work of Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates, this data center will be the largest, most ecologically considerate and efficient data centers on Earth.”

“Gilbane’s Delaware Valley region is poised to achieve great success by delivering this LEED Platinum data center with Steel Orca and Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates,” says Greg Dunkle, Gilbane’s Regional Manager. “The accelerated schedule will be challenging on its own merits, validating the need for a partner like Gilbane.  Our project team is excited to address and minimize the demands a data center places on our natural resources and the equal demand on energy consumption.”

“It takes specialized expertise to be able to achieve the aggressive efficiency goals set by Steel Orca,” agrees William J. Gilbane, Jr., president and COO. “I have complete confidence that our team of experts can rise to the challenge and set a new standard for data centers.”

Preconstruction has already begun and start of construction is planned for the fall of 2011. Overall completion is scheduled for 2013.

Steel ORCA is expected to employ more than 1,000 people in Bucks County when the new facility is complete.

About Steel Orca

Steel Orca is working with many of the world’s best design and engineering firms to build its efficient green data centers.  These ultra-high availability and ultra-secure facilities are being designed to operate at approximately 60% greater energy efficiency than the average data center, translating directly into more computing power using less energy.  Steel ORCA is currently executing contracts at pre-construction rates for data center tenants. For more information, visit

About Gilbane Building Company

Gilbane provides a full slate of construction and facilities-related services – from sustainable building to the latest in construction technology – for clients across various markets. Founded in 1873 and still a privately held, family-run company, Gilbane has more than 60 office locations across the country and around the world through its subsidiary, Innovative Technical Solutions, Inc. (ITSI). For more information, visit

About Crabtree, Rorhbaugh & Associates

Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates is a nationally recognized design firm housing more than 90 leaders in the fields of architecture design, interior design, planning, project management and construction administration. The firm has designed and built structures for our clients in 39 states and counting. The firm’s scope of experience includes K-12 and university education, retail, health care, religious, historical, governmental, correctional, warehousing, distribution, commercial office, multi- family housing, hotel, restaurant, recreational and banking facilities. To learn more, visit

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