From Stockholm to Vancouver, the spectrum of datacenter cooling ideas continues to grow.

Heat, the waste product of an operational datacenter, may prove to be a valuable product.
Written by David Chernicoff, Contributor

Taking advantage of their location in an area with access to a large, cold, body of water, data center operator Interxion has slashed energy costs in their Stockholm, Sweden datacenter by 80 percent by using a cold water cooling system that gets the chilled water from the sea.

Using this naturally cool water has allowed Interxion to decrease the PUE of their facility below 1.1, an advantage that Google has also utilized in their datacenter in Hamina, Finland. The Interxion facility uses different technology, however, one that allows the chilled water to be circulated through multiple datacenters multiple times, rather than a single pass then back technique. Interxion claims that this allows further reduction in overall energy use for datacenter cooling. As the temperature of the water being used for cooling increases it is rerouted to provide heat to local homes and offices, allowing utilization of the waste energy created in the datacenter.

4700 miles to the west, in Vancouver, Canada, energy provider FortisBC is partnering with TELUS and Westbank to build a million square foot development that will utilize the waste heat generated by an existing TELUS datacenter and office tower to provide heat and hot water to the new $750 million development. This waste heat utilization will be an important part of the planned LEED Platinum certification for the planned office tower, and LEED gold certification for the planned residential tower.

Unlike much of what is done with improving the energy efficiency of datacenters, this project is a case of additional facilities being built to take advantage of the waste output of an existing facility. With the entire development being done within a small geographic area (downtown Vancouver), this project, should  it be successful, could set a new standard for how to integrate datacenter energy output, often in the form of hot water, into urban neighborhood design and planning.

Editorial standards