In this digital age, data centers are used to store the hardware and information users frequently access. And as our reliance on the web grows, these data centers increase in size. They also use a tremendous amount of energy, but the white data center concept could help.
Normally, all of the hardware in these facilities runs very hot. Thus, not only do these facilities need to power the hardware they also need to keep it cool. Thus, they require even more energy, at least conventionally.
The white data center in Japan utilizes snow to keep the hardware cool, hence the “white” part of the name. In simple terms, the snow is stored in a building where the warm air from the data center is sent. The snow will then melt into water.
The water travels through the facility to cool off the pipes via the AC system. The end result is the facility is kept at a temperature of 25C.
It could save a lot of energy if more data centers were in snowy regions.
Where Would This Work?
So, as many people probably already realized, this type of design needs snow, which isn’t available in all climates.
Thus, not every nation would be able to copy this design. However, many nations could still benefit from it, especially during the winter months. In the case of Bibai, where the white data center is located, they roughly plow over 200,000 tons of snow annually.
This obviously costs money to do. So instead, this plowed snow can become a resource for the data center.
As you can guess, this could help make the money spent plowing roads and in general snow removal more worthwhile as it would also help reduce emissions. Of course, building a data center in a remote location could impact the center’s performance.
After all, most should be aware that the further away from the source you are, the lower the quality you get. Therefore data centers are usually built closer to the consumer. In fact, that’s why many cities have data centers built within the city limits.
Thus, for data centers that host gaming servers, where the player connection is crucial, remote locations won’t be a great option.
Data Center Energy Demand IS Growing
Not only are the sizes of data centers growing, but also the total number.
Think about it, more and more online services are becoming more popular. In the past, it was just hosting your website, but today, you have data centers for streaming services, or even more recently, data centers for video game streaming.
As the data becomes more complex, the hardware does too, which results in even more energy demand.
Simply put, there is a lot of data that companies need to store. To offer customers the best service, having more data centers closer to the consumer is beneficial. However, there will eventually be a breaking point where the energy demand becomes too vast.
While we are still far away from that, it’s something we need to figure out if we want to achieve net-zero emissions.
Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.