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The weather conditions in London may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but where data center operations are concerned, its chilly climate has offered us the chance to become an industry pioneer.
Our London 1 Data Center is one of the first data centers in the world that doesn’t rely on a traditional chiller plant with compressors. The energy savings we’ve realized through this new cooling design are significant. Better still, our London 1 facility uses 100% renewable energy. This represents a positive step on our journey to achieving our goal of 100% renewable energy across our global data centers by 2030. London 1 has also achieved an ‘Excellent’ rating from BREEAM, a leading science-based suite of validation and certification systems for sustainable built environment.
Few degrees, high impact
A persistent challenge for data center operators in recent times is achieving the optimal ambiance to operate IT systems. Two decades ago, data center facilities were cooled down to around 16 to 18°C. But this could only be achieved with large chilling systems that consumed vast amounts of energy, especially during the warmer summer months.
However, in 2015, studies conducted by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) showed that higher temperature envelopes are possible in modern data centers. Today, according to their Thermal Guidelines for Data Processing Environments, the allowable temperature range in newly built data centers can go up to 32°C. Considering that chiller systems use up a significant amount of power, an allowable temperature increase by just a few degrees within a data center can result in tremendous cost savings.
Poor weather conditions, great data center environment
In London, these guidelines have enabled us to enter the next level: Due to its relatively low average temperature and reasonable peak temperatures, we were able to do away with our mechanical chillers when designing our data center in Dagenham. Thanks to the effective design of our site, the rack temperature range of between 25 to 32°C is achieved by just using cooling towers.
Of course, we spent a lot of time thoroughly examining weather data before going down this route. All systems are designed in such a way that the cooling of our high-density data center facility is guaranteed even with a peak temperature of four degrees above the maximum temperature measured in the Dagenham area in the past 20 years. The energy savings we’re seeing are tremendous. The London 1 Data Center is only consuming 150 to 200 kW per 1 MW IT load, making it one of our most efficient data centers when it comes to total power consumption.
Hot water, cool solutions
As building and operating sustainable colocation data centers is one of our key goals, every location challenges our design and engineering team to implement tailor-made solutions for the most sustainable outcomes. Besides being a chiller-free colocation data center, London 1 is designed to support the district heating grid. The heat of the cooling water from the data center can be transferred to buildings in the neighborhood. Even if the water temperature is normally not that high, every degree allows recipients to save energy.
Multiple ideas for a united goal
All our efforts are part of our singular goal: To make our data centers climate neutral. And we’re committed to achieving this goal ahead of the European Green Deal’s aim of 2050. Together with other data center operators and trade associations, we signed the Climate Neutral Data Center Pact committing to making our data centers climate neutral by 2030. We’re proud to see our chiller-free London 1 Data Center adding great momentum to our sustainability journey.