• Data centers have carbon footprint similar to that of the airline industry
• Energy efficiency and sustainability matter to data center owners and operators
• Eco-friendly data centers are a reality
Using fjord water as its cooling resource, Green Mountain operates one of the most eco-friendly and sustainable data centers in the world, with help from Schneider Electric™.
Data centers started as specially designed computer rooms in the mid-1990s. They have since evolved into company-owned or outsourced centralized providers of IT utilities. Data centers boomed during the dot-com era in the late 1990s and early 2000s as companies rushed to gain a web presence and connect to their partners, suppliers and customers via new web-enabled applications. Market researcher IDC predicted the number of data centers worldwide would peak at 8.6 million in 2017.
Energy efficiency and sustainability are important issues for data center owners and operators. Together, data centers account for about 1.3% of the world’s electricity usage. They also account for close to 2% of total greenhouse gas emissions, giving them about the same carbon footprint as the airline industry. About 40% of the total energy consumed by data centers is used for cooling IT equipment, with a sizeable chunk of this going to chillers.
In this energy-hungry sector, the Green Mountain data center in Norway is a happy outlier. One of the most energy-efficient data centers in the world, it has a zero-carbon footprint. Operational since 2013 and scalable up to 25MW, the facility provides colocation data center services to large corporate clients.
The data center occupies a decommissioned NATO munitions bunker buried deep in a mountain on the Norwegian island of Rennesøy and is adjacent to a fjord. Schneider Electric was a main designer and equipment supplier, and handled every data center infrastructure aspect of the enormous project.
The innovative facility takes advantage of its location by using gravity-fed frigid water from the fjord to cool the massive data center infrastructure; Schneider Electric designed the chiller-free cooling system. The data center itself is powered by low-cost, low-carbon, 100% renewable hydropower from separate grids.
All this contributes to making Green Mountain one of the most eco-friendly and sustainable data centers in the world, as well as helping its corporate clients gain their own green credentials and spend less on power.