/>
X

Join or Sign In

Register for your free ZDNet membership or if you are already a member, sign in using your preferred method below.

Use your email Use Linkedin Use Facebook

Photos: Unearthing the zero-carbon data centre

Going greener underground...

|
zd-defaultauthor-gemma-simpson.jpg
|
Topic: Hardware
40150550-1-corridor1.jpg
1 of 7 Gemma Simpson/ZDNet

Going greener underground...

Managed services provider Centrinet has launched what it claims is the UK's first data centre that has zero carbon emissions.

The data centre has been built 100 metres underground in a former-RAF radar station. The so-called Smartbunker's zero carbon branding simply means all the power it uses comes from UK-based wind farms.

The Smartbunker houses blade servers and, because it escapes the sun's rays, it also requires less power for cooling purposes during the summer months.

Kelly Smith, managing director of Smartbunker, told silicon.com: "Whilst we're using zero carbon energy, which is more expensive for us to buy in the first place, by offsetting that power usage with more efficient servers and reduced cooling, we do not pass on those additional costs to our customers."

Smith said: "If you are carbon offsetting you are just using power and paying someone to plant a tree to replace the carbon elsewhere."

He added: "What we are saying is first of all use less power and of the power you have to use don't carbon offset it but use zero carbon power."

Pictured is the view down into the data centre bunker.

Photo credit: Gemma Simpson

40150550-2-gate.jpg
2 of 7 Gemma Simpson/ZDNet

The underground data centre also has a stable temperature. Smith told silicon.com: "With us it's like being winter all the time and we are not at all affected by the sun."

While over-ground data centre power bills can go up in the summer months, Smith said the Smartbunker only has to cool the heat kicked out by its servers.

But the subterranean nature of the Smartbunker did make it tricky to connect the data centre to the outside world.

Smith said putting in the infrastructure was one of the key challenges which timed the launch and Smartbunker had to invest a lot with BT to bring in the connections.

One of the underground entrances to the Smartbunker server rooms is pictured above.

Photo credit: Gemma Simpson

40150550-3-empty.jpg
3 of 7 Gemma Simpson/ZDNet

The majority of the Smartbunker is currently standing empty, awaiting more blades to fill its 30,000 square foot of space.

Smith said: "The Smartbunker has room for tens of thousands of servers and before we reach that capacity we want to have more sites across the UK.

Photo credit: Gemma Simpson

40150550-4-server.jpg
4 of 7 Gemma Simpson/ZDNet

The data centre opened for business in June 2007 and currently holds 20 racks of blade servers for its customers.

Pictured are some of the IBM Bladecenter servers currently housed in the Smartbunker.

Photo credit: Gemma Simpson

40150550-5-office.jpg
5 of 7 Gemma Simpson/ZDNet

The Smartbunker is getting a facelift from its post-RAF radar station days. Pictured is one of the underground meeting rooms.

Smith said: "When we tell people about an underground bunker they think of a dingy place with water running down the walls but it's just like a normal office."

Photo credit: Gemma Simpson

40150550-6-outside.jpg
6 of 7 Gemma Simpson/ZDNet

The Smartbunker is housed inside an old 1950s RAF radar station. Pictured is the outside view of the bunker - which is disguised to look like a three-bedroom bungalow.

Once inside, the bunker is three-storeys deep and encased in three-metre thick concrete walls.

Photo credit: Gemma Simpson

40150550-7-wind.jpg
7 of 7 Gemma Simpson/ZDNet

The data centre uses power which comes solely from Ecotricity wind farms dotted across the UK.

Pictured is a wind farm near the Smartbunker in Lincolnshire, England.

The underground data centre is the latest in a line of server rooms trying to embrace greener IT, including IBM's recent flat-pack centre and Sun Microsystems' data centre in a shipping container.

Photo credit: Gemma Simpson

Related Galleries

Apple Watch Series 7: Unboxing and first impressions
Hello QWERTY keyboard

Related Galleries

Apple Watch Series 7: Unboxing and first impressions

First look at the YubiKey Bio
YubiKey Bio

Related Galleries

First look at the YubiKey Bio

Anker 20W Nano Pro charger (Anker 511 Charger)
Anker Nano Pro

Related Galleries

Anker 20W Nano Pro charger (Anker 511 Charger)

First Look: New Surface PCs include Android-based Duo 2 [in pictures]
thumbnail-72371d1d9eb043bcb3986b87c5b47dc7.jpg

Related Galleries

First Look: New Surface PCs include Android-based Duo 2 [in pictures]

Next-generation Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
Kindle Paperwhite Kids

Related Galleries

Next-generation Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

First look: iPhone 13 Apple event [in pictures]
california-streaming-2.jpg

Related Galleries

First look: iPhone 13 Apple event [in pictures]

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, HP Elite Folio, and more: ZDNet's reviews roundup
hp-elite-dragonfly-g2.jpg

Related Galleries

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, HP Elite Folio, and more: ZDNet's reviews roundup