Around the world, data centers pump out hundreds of millions of tons of CO2 every year. As companies like Microsoft, Apple and Facebook are seeking to become greener and, at the same time, to lower their power costs, they are deciding to move away from fossil fuels like coal to generate electricity. More and more data centers are changing electricity supplies to depend more heavily on renewables and other lower-emissions sources. Ultimately, they are working toward supplies that are 100-percent carbon-neutral.
Taking things yet another step further, in North Sweden’s copper mining town of Falun, a game-changing data center is being built in tandem with a local energy system. EcoDataCenter is building the world’s first climate-positive data center, projected to attain the highest level of availability and also to have an exceptionally high performance level, with a guaranteed uptime of 100 percent. EcoDataCenter also will be one of the 13 safest in the world, meeting the highest security requirements.
The electricity powering the data center will come solely from renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and water power, as well as secondary biofuels such as forestry waste and sawdust from local sawmills. The facility will utilize free air cooling between October and April and will use a cooling system in the summer months.
EcoDataCenter will be connected to an already sustainable local energy system that will enable use of highly‑efficient heat pumps. No electricity is required to increase the return water temperature from the data center. The excess heat from the servers and IT equipment will be channeled to warm nearby homes and buildings in winter, and excess steam will be used to run machines cooling the data center. By collaborating with the district heating system, EcoDataCenter can ensure that emissions are cut so low that the site will have a negative carbon footprint over the course of a year.
“We live in an age when more and more people are concerned about the global data center industry’s environmental effects. Internet penetration and the Internet of Things don’t have to happen at the expense of the climate. IT security and performance is also increasingly critical for companies and organizations. Therefore, we are tremendously proud to be a part of the creation of this pioneering data center. EcoDataCenter is the showcase for green data and shows that it is very profitable to think out of the box,” says Marc Nezet, Country Manager at Schneider Electric Sweden.
The initiator of EcoDataCenter is the energy company Falu Energi & Vatten in collaboration with the entrepreneurial company EcoDC AB. Schneider Electric will supply technology that will deliver energy efficient solutions and products to the project.
The first of three buildings is scheduled to be completed in the first quarter of 2016.
Fast Facts: EcoDataCenter
- Size: Three buildings totaling 23,250 square meters
- Power: 18 megawatts
- Up-time: 100 percent
- Energy sources: Sun, wind, water and secular biofuels
- Security classification: Tier IV (the highest possible). The data center will be protected by heavy concrete walls and advanced security, control and surveillance systems.
- PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness): Less than 1.15 (Tier IV design)
- LEED: Environment-friendly design with houses certified according to LEED Platinum
- Added cooling: Sedum (flowering plants) on the roofs cooling them throughout the summer
- Climate: Average annual temperature 5°C. Average number of days per year with max temperature >25°C is 22 days
- Site access: 2 km to highway, 25 km to airport, 2-hour train to Stockholm
- Power costs: Sweden has approximately 40 to 50 percent lower power costs compared to UK electricity prices, according to statistics from Business Sweden, Nord Pool Spot and the UK Department of Energy & Climate Change.
Today, the information technology sector is consuming up to 10 percent of the world’s electricity, with over three million data centers across the globe. A single data center can easily use more electricity than a mid-sized town, much of which is released as heat into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming. Falon’s new EcoDataCenter raises the bar for tomorrow’s cleaner and greener data centers, and provides singular inspiration for data center design innovation.