There are currently over 3 million data centers in operation in the world and the majority of them are water-hogging, power-hungry, excess heat-releasing facilities. That is the ugly truth of our connected world. All of that communication, data sharing and storing requires a lot of energy.
The good news is that many large tech companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft are making major strides to lower their data centers' carbon footprints. They're using various renewable energy sources, open-air cooling and other energy and water-saving techniques to make their operations cleaner. Some of their data centers are even carbon neutral.
A new data center being built in Sweden called EcoDataCenter claims to be the first carbon-negative, or climate-positive, data center in the world. The new project by Falu Energi, Vatten and EcoDC AB will be powered by the local grid in Falun, which is exclusively fed by renewable sources including wind, solar, hydro and a nearby cogeneration plant. For cooling, the area's cold climate with an average temperature of 41°F will keep the equipment from overheating via an open-air cooling design.
The facility will also have green roofs featuring flowering plants that will help to keep the buildings cool and during the summer when the heat rises, excess steam from the local electricity plant will be used as an additional power source for running machines that keep the equipment cool.
The EcoDataCenter project states the when all of that is taken into account over a full year, it amounts to carbon-negative footprint.
The first of the three planned buildings will be completed in early 2016. The rest of the 76,600 sq ft data center will follow soon after. The video below gives you a glimpse at the plans.