From bees to greenhouses, data centres across Europe have in the recent past turned activists for a better world. Protecting the fauna and flora, as well as making better use of resources for the benefit of communities up and down the continent is now part of the day-to-day operations of operators. Beyond heating up schools, hospitals, and swimming pools, data centres warm waste is being utilised by some European players to help the continent’s fauna and flora. In this blog, JSA Media Consultant João Marques Lima explores some of the main examples of how that is being done and what the leaders behind the movements think.
Over in Ireland, the data centre community and supporters, have pledged more than 1,000 orchards to be planted across the country in the 2021-2022 planting season.
Kickstarted by Host in Ireland, the group is also working in collaboration with the Irish National Biodiversity Data Centre as the first project to enable tracking of pollination service, a key piece of the puzzle in measuring the health of pollinators in Ireland.
Orchards are important habitats as they support many species of flora and fauna, and in particular, the 99 species of bees in Ireland, of which 30% are facing extinction. The natural life cycle of fruit trees provides food sources for pollinators and other species throughout the year. In addition, orchards have played an important role in communities for many centuries, as a focal point, a gathering space, and a place where people and nature successfully work together to create abundant harvests.
Garry Connolly, founder of Host in Ireland, said: “DCs for Bees has been created to raise awareness and take action to reverse the dramatic decline in Ireland’s pollinators. ‘Orchards in the Community’ gives our partners yet another opportunity to collaborate within their local communities and actively assist in the reverse of the decline of Ireland’s pollinators.”
Garry Connolly was a contributing author to Greener Data, where he wrote in his chapter about the premise behind DCs for Bees. Find out more about Greener Data at GreenerData.net.
Up in the Nordics, the sector has been at the forefront of giving back to the community. But last year things were upped a notch when Norwegian colocation company Green Mountain and Norwegian Lobster Farm entered into an agreement on the reuse of waste heat from the data centre in the world’s first land-based lobster farm. The project represents an innovative example of circular economy as it uses the waste heat for food production and reduce the carbon footprint significantly.
Norwegian Lobster Farm is the first company in the world to produce plate sized lobsters in a land-based fish farm. Their current facilities use recycling aquaculture technology (RAS) as well as advanced robotics, computer vision systems and automatic and continuous monitoring of each individual lobster. To grow optimally, the lobster needs a temperature of 20°C in the seawater.
This is exactly the temperature of the seawater that has been used to cool the IT equipment in Green Mountain’s data centre.
Green Mountain CEO Tor Kristian Gyland, said: “For a long time, we have explored various methods to reuse the waste heat from our data centre. Here at Rennesøy, which is sparsely populated, district heating is not a sensible alternative. This project, on the other hand, fits like a glove. Thus, we hope we can expand this and similar concepts to our future facilities as well.“
Also from Green Mountain, the company and Hima Seafood have entered into an agreement to reuse waste heat from Green Mountain’s DC2-Telemark to warm up the world’s largest land-based trout farm.
Construction of the facility began in 2021 and when fully operational in 2023, the waste heat will be used in the production of 9.000 tons of trout annually. This sustainable project will help reduce both energy consumption and carbon footprint.
“Data centres are undoubtably very energy consuming. Although our data centres run on 100% renewable hydropower, we do not like to waste the energy. This project is a breakthrough example of circular economy. Where the output of one company can benefit another with an environmental benefit on top. Our vision is “setting the green standard”. This project truly supports this,” said Gyland.
Also commenting, Hima Farm Director Joe McElwee. Chief Executive Officer of Hima Seafood, Sten Falkum, said: “Ensuring a consistent and stable water temperature for our fish is key to producing a world-class product. Superior product quality and environmental sustainability are not just slogans for us. They are part of Hima’s DNA.
“Green Mountain’s waste heat represents a significant cost savings in our production. We are thrilled that our heating requirements can help reduce the environmental footprint of Green Mountain and help cool the data centre in return. This truly is a win-win solution for both parties.”