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Data & Heat

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Posted on October 19th, 2010 by Victoria Pal in Tech

Cool placeNowadays you can expect to find data centers in the most peculiar places. Cargo containers, old bunkers, at the bottom of a coal mine, even six miles off the coast of Suffolk. One place I would never have thought of is under a cathedral!

Finland did it again. Currently there is an operational data centre beneath the Uspensky Cathedral, in Helsinki. The server rooms are located in a former World War II bomb shelter. Why - one would ask. Well, for a couple of reasons.

For one, 45% of all electricity used to power a modern data center is used for cooling the server hardware. Now imagine you cut down that percentage to almost zero and have the waste heat extracted and used to heat nearby homes. Together with Helsingin Energia, Academica have designed a system to use the chilly waters of the Baltic sea to cool the hardware. The waste heat is transferred by a special pipe system and then sent through the city's vast underground tunnel network to the district heating system.

Green and efficient come hand in hand with lower bills and higher profit. It is said that the Helsingin Energia Data Center should be able to reduce the electricity bill by up to half million dollars per year.

Earlier this year, Helsingin Energia won the 2010 Uptime Institute Green Enterprise IT Award. According to Pietari Päivänen, head of sales at Academica, if all data centers in Finland were to use the technology they could power a mid-size Finnish city. Now that is one exciting thought!

Victoria Pal

Doesn't like queuing (particularly at Wimbledon). Likes travelling, tennis and reading. Loves working as a Project Manager at WebSitePulse.

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