Cooled Finland Data Center
Every now and then, an exciting or controversial issue triggers a flood of online discourse. For our Noise Filter feature, the WHIR pans the raging rivers of opinion for shining nuggets of useful commentary. Set to open this fall, the data center not only has a great waterfront view, but also has the capability to cool itself via granite tunnels that suck in seawater from the bay and churn out tempered water to not disrupt the existing ecosystem.
Google acquired the former paper mill in March 2009 for around $50 million. When it was operating as a paper mill in the 50s, the building used the quarter mile tunnels for its manufacturing equipment.
Google has been applauded for its green initiatives in the past, including holding an annual conference on data center efficiency, and this time around is no different. Though it not the first building to use seawater to keep cool (as some have been quick to point out), the way Google has adapted to the local environment is something other data center operators may want to consider when building their next facility.
In a post about the green tech on GigaOm, Katie Fehrenbacher highlights Google as a saving grace for green technology.
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Hats off to Google for standing on its own in terms of its attention to clean power and overall energy. Google knows that it wants to increasingly control where and how it gets its power for its data centers, so is investing in seemingly indirect ways to figure that out, from its subsidiary Google Energy that can buy and sell power, to its venture arm Google Ventures investing in energy companies, to the company investing in clean power projects.
Kirsten Korosec of BNET says Google may start a trend in data center design where facilities will only use localized resources, a trend reminiscent of the local food movement.
Googles latest data center experiment is a riff off of the locavore movement. Except that instead of buying tomatoes that grow down the block, Google is using nearby seawater to cool its data center.
Korosec also points out that Google has invested more than $400 million in clean energy projects.
The unique characteristics of a data center site is a design priority for Google, according to Jonathan Bardelline of GreenBiz.
Using the unique characteristics of a site is nothing new to Google in its work to make its data centers as efficient as possible. A data center in Saint Ghislain, Belgium, was built without chillers since it in an area with year round lower temperatures than inside Google data centers.
Katharine Gray, in a post on Tecca, says that Google used tiny submarines to ensure the tunnels weren blocked. Gray says Google is tapping into a long standing tradition by using the environment to control the building temperatures.
Using the Earth natural resources to heat and cool buildings is nothing new geothermal heating has been around for centuries, and you might remember that Japan Tokyo Electric Power Company used seawater to help cool the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant after the April earthquake. The city of Honolulu, Hawaii, also recently embarked on a project that will use seawater to cool its downtown buildings.
Cade Metz of the Register jokes about the contrast between a paper mill and Google.
Global paper maker Stora Enso shuttered the Summa Mill early in 2008, pointing to a drop in newsprint and magazine paper production that lead to losses in recent years and poor long term profitability prospects. Nowadays, you see, people like to get their news and magazine stories from places like Google data centers.
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