The data center silo and missed opportunities.


Tonight I’ve been reading about the CLUMEQ data center silo in Quebec. Great reuse of an existing facility but one less than efficient oddity.

I’ve talked a bit in previous posts about the idea of embodied carbon. Embodied carbon is the representation of the carbon released by the manufacture of an item and represented by the item. It’s hard to imagine a much bigger source of embodied carbon than an existing building. The reuse of a building means that there isn’t any further release of carbon as the result of replacing the building.

The challenge of reusing a building for a data center is when the building was designed for a specific limited purpose as this one was. Odd shapes, odd layouts, these all can create a nightmare of logistics and airflow.

The reuse of this odd silo is nearly brilliant. Using circular placement of the equipment to take advantage of the open center of the building as an air plenum is a perfect example of using the oddities in your favor.

So where is the wart on the nose of an otherwise great looking facility? It’s simple. Cold air naturally sinks and hot air naturally rises. Since they chose to place the cooling systems in the basement, they have to move cold air up from the basement and hot air back down. This means that they are using energy to pump air against it’s normal movement, instead of using the energy from the waste heat to move air without adding any extra energy. A perfect bad example of a wasted green data center opportunity.

Valiant attempt, glaring miss.

Vern, SwiftWater Telecom

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One response to “The data center silo and missed opportunities.

  1. Pingback: Data center heros of 2009. « The Server Room

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