Social Security Administration National Support Center

Located in Urbana, Maryland, the Social Security Administration National Support Center is a Tier III data center that maintains the demographic, wage, and benefit information of almost every American. The facility supports approximately 10 megawatts (MW) of information technology server load and houses roughly 80 employees.

Spanning 275,000 square feet, Southland Engineering provided mechanical, plumbing, and fire protection design services. The facility features IT white space, an office building, and an access control center.

Approach & Innovations

With a goal of creating significant energy savings, Southland Engineering designed a series of innovations that aided in achieving LEED Gold certification. The design team utilized elevated chilled water temperatures for sensible cooling requirements to decrease the amount of energy utilized and to increase the amount of time the waterside economizer could be used. This design significantly lowered utility and maintenance costs throughout the year.

To increase the facility’s energy savings, Southland Engineering utilized heat recovery chillers for latent cooling and hot water production. This design eliminated the need for gas-fired boilers. Additionally, the heat recovery chillers played a critical role in the facility’s day one start. The smaller heat recovery chiller could be used to generate chilled water when there was not enough IT load to run the main chillers at minimum capacity.

Owner requirements mandated that a minimum of three days worth of cooling tower make-up water be stored in the event of a main water failure. To meet this requirement, Southland Engineering designed five independent 100,000-gallon below-grade concrete cooling tower sumps which supported the cooling towers and housed this make-up water during normal operating conditions.  Having five independent sumps allows the towers to be kept at different water temperatures while increasing the number of waterside economizer hours of the central plant. Additionally, to reduce the make-up water use to the cooling towers, a stormwater reclamation system is used to collect, treat, and provide make-up water to the facility.


Client: General Services Adminstration

Location: Urbana, Maryland

LEED: Gold

Square Footage: 275,000