Up to 10 percent of the world’s electricity is consumed by the Information and Communications Technology sector alone. ICT is emerging as a new target area in terms of energy efficiency. There are currently over three million data centers globally and the growing cost of powering them is plain to see.
A single data center can easily use more electricity than a mid-sized town. A large part of this energy is never used, but simply released as heat into the atmosphere. According to several reports the combined carbon dioxide emissions from these datacenters are expected to exceed the emissions from the entire airline industry in only five years. “This development implies an increased need for energy, which also affects the environment to a great extent. It is also a cost-driver, which requires a new way of thinking”, says Børge Granli, one of the founders of EcoDC AB.
Sweden has proven to be an excellent and safe location for data centers due to its cold climate, reliable and renewable energy sources, political stability and lack of natural disasters. The Cushman & Wakefield and Hurleypalmerflatt Data Centre Risk Index ranks Sweden as the third safest location for data centers in the world, after the US and UK. EcoDataCenter is projected to attain the highest level of availability according to Uptime Institute Tier IV™, something only twelve other data centers in the world have managed to attain to date.
Falun Data Center will be connected to the local energy system, which in 2013 was praised by Global District Energy Climate Award 2013 in New York as one of the world’s best. The excess heat from the servers and IT equipment will warm the buildings in Falun through the district heating system. In the summer time, excess steam from the local electricity plant will run the machines cooling the data center.
“We are connecting the data center to an already sustainable energy system and can make use of all the energy. Thereby we are building the very first climate positive data center in the world”, says Bengt Gustafsson, CEO of Falu Energi & Vatten. The electricity powering Falun data center comes only from solar, wind and water power as well as secondary biofuels. The first building of three will be completed in the first quarter of 2016.