Someone must have told Mark Zuckerberg to “go north, young man.” For its first facility outside of the United States, Facebook has chosen to build its European data storage center in Lulea, Sweden—60 miles from the Arctic Circle. And the reason for this is just so cool!
According to the July/August issue of Smithsonian, three 290,000-square-foot buildings, or “server farms,” will be in Sweden for a reason—natural air-conditioning. The thousands of servers generate a lot of heat. (Anyone remember the olden days when computer rooms were chilled and IT workers wore heavy jackets?)
So it’s just plain practical to put the building where it’s cold. Datacenterknowledge.com reports that the average high temperature in Lulea is 41ºF, the average low temperature is 27 ºF, and the humidity is quite dry—perfect for electronics.
And the entire process will be green and sustainable. Outside air will be pumped into the buildings, saving on electricity for air-conditioning. And the heat generated from the servers will be captured to heat the buildings’ offices, restrooms, and break rooms!
Even better, according to Smithsonian, is that the electricity is generated by clean, renewable, (and cheap) hydropower, said to be the cheapest in Europe, from the nearby Lule River.
Casey Harrell, Greenpeace IT analyst, told dataknowledgecenter.com that the IT sector is one of the fastest-growing consumers of electricity in the world, and she complimented Facebook for its leadership on renewable energy.
Have you used the natural environment to help "green" your heating or cooling processes?