January 30th, 2016 by Guest Contributor
Originally published on Sustainnovate.
By Henry Lindon
The social media giant Facebook will be building a new €200 million data center in Ireland that will get 100% of its electricity from renewable energy projects, according to recent reports. The data center will also reportedly utilize intelligent air intake design to help cut down on cooling costs.
The new data center will be Facebook’s second in Europe once completed (set for late 2017 or early 2018, currently), and will be located in Clonee, outside of Dublin.
The company’s Vice President of Infrastructure, Tom Furlong, commented in a blog post that the new facility would be powered with the country’s renewable wind resources, and that it would feature state-of-the-art technologies designed to reduce overall energy use.
“All the racks, servers, and other components have been designed and built from scratch as part of the Open Compute Project, an industry-wide coalition of companies dedicated to creating energy- and cost-efficient infrastructure solutions and sharing them as open source,” he stated.
This is all worth taking note of, as data centers are ridiculously energy intensive, representing a substantial (and rapidly growing) portion of overall energy use nowadays. Many insiders have been arguing in recent years that this may lead to the need for new taxes or higher data charges, if the Internet is going to be maintained in its current form.
A data center engineer and visiting professor at the University of Leeds, by the name of Professor Ian Bitterlin, stated recently:
“If we carry on going the way we have been it would become unsustainable — this level of data center growth is not sustainable beyond the next 10 to 15 years. The question is, what are we going to do about it?”
Notably, Facebook is aiming to receive half of its electricity needs (for all of its operations) via renewable energy sources by the end of 2018.