It's easy to forget that our internet use has a footprint, but all of that data has to be stored somewhere. Large data centers filled with servers are what make our modern lives possible and those servers consume a lot of energy not just for data processing, but even more to keep them cool and running efficiently.
Thankfully, the world's tech giants have realized that there are ways to reduce the environmental impact of data centers like building them in colder climates and taking advantage of passive cooling techniques and using renewable energy sources for power.
A new data center from being built by American-Norwegian company Kolos is planned to be the world's largest and it will also be fully powered by renewable energy. The facility will be located in Norway in a fjord above the Arctic circle, which will make it unnecessary to utilize any additional cooling methods beyond open air cooling and the use of the nearby cold water.
The design of the data center will have it looking as though it were part of the fabric of the fjord, mimicking the shapes that naturally occur there.
The data center will also take advantage of nearby wind and hydroelectric power for its energy needs, which, along with the passive cooling, Kolos says will allow the data center to reduce its energy costs by 60 percent compared to a typical data center of that size.
Most of the large tech companies have been experimenting with new ways to cut energy demands at their data centers. Microsoft has built a small, entirely off-grid data center and Google has looked to seawater for cooling, but this new data center is certainly ambitious in both size and scope of sustainability.