Information and communications technology consumes a full 10 percent of the world’s electricity, meaning that whenever a new data center is designed, its efficiency is of paramount concern. A new project, known as EcoDataCenter, will be the world’s first-climate positive data center, utilizing various techniques and technologies to ensure a positive impact on the wider world.
There are currently in excess of three million data centers in operation around the world, many of which have a significant negative impact on the environment, releasing heat into the atmosphere and contributing to global warming.
Sweden’s cold climate is well-suited to hosting data centers, with the region’s low average temperature – just 5°C (41°F) – helping to keep equipment cool. Energy prices in Sweden are also lower than many other parts of the world – approximately 40-50 percent lower than in the UK, according to statistics from Business Swede, Nord Pool Spot.
The EcoDataCenter, under constructed in the city of Falun, will draw power from the local energy grid, which is itself one of the most efficient in the world, but will also make use of its own excess heat and energy, using it to heat buildings in the district. The electricity drawn to power the center in the first place comes solely from renewable sources such as solar, water and wind power, as well as a local cogeneration plant.
When temperatures rise in the summer, excess steam from the local electricity plant will be used to run machines that keep the center's equipment running at optimum temperatures. Flowering plants will also be placed on the the facility’s roofs to aid cooling. When the above measures are taken into account over the course of a full year, they add up to a negative carbon dioxide footprint.
The project, which is a collaboration between Falu Energi, Vatten and EcoDC AB, will have a 100 percent guaranteed up time, and will be one of the 13 safest facilities in the world, obtaining a Tier IV classification – the highest ranking available. The EcoDataCenter’s designers have worked with energy specialist Schneider Electric to develop energy-efficient security solutions that fall in line with the facility’s green credentials. The facility will be physically protected by heavy concrete walls, and as you would expect, there will be advanced surveillance systems in place.
The first of three buildings that will eventually form the 23,350 square meter (76,600 sq ft) complete data center will be completed in Q1 2016. Check out the video below for more of a look at the EcoDataCenter.
On a related note, an existing data center located in Iceland is partially powered by geothermal energy.