Equinix, the largest global data centre and colocation provider for enterprise network and cloud computing, has installed a rooftop farm at one of its sites that uses waste datacentre power to grow fruit and veg.
Paris Rooftop Greenhouse
As part of its Corporate Sustainability programme, Equinix has already covered several of its data centre rooftop sites with covered with plants and vegetation to keep the buildings cool, lower cooling costs and reduce storm-water runoff. Now, the company’s new ‘rooftop farm’ at its Saint Denis, Paris PA10 data centre has 430 m2 greenhouse and a further 570 m2 of green space. The greenhouse is powered by a heat recovery system with heat exchangers linked to the data centre’s water-cooling system. It also features humidity monitoring, temperatures sensors, sunshades, automated irrigation, and ventilation systems, all of which can provide climate-controlled, year-round growing facility for fruit and vegetables and offering relaxing garden spaces.
Growing Fruit & Veg
RBA Architects, who completed the ground-breaking urban farm project for Equinix have highlighted how the seasonal fruit and vegetables are cultivated inside the greenhouse using a hydroponic system to maximise space efficiency and minimise water usage. Also, the gardens are planted with species known to maximise the amount of rainwater consumption and support insects and wildlife, and have been enhanced with the installation of ‘insect hotels’.
The rooftop garden has also been designed to be wheelchair accessible plus provide natural shade, cooling and relaxation spaces. Visitors and staff to the site can share the foods that the project has created and use the dedicated seating and catering areas.
John Hutchinson, Director at RBA, said of the project “It is of increasing importance that we increase our actions and mitigate the environmental impact of an increasingly digital world” and that it “heralds the start of an exciting new era.”
Tenth Data Centre In Paris
The PA10 Paris data centre (the tenth opened by Equinix in Paris over the last 20 years) and the rooftop garden is one way that enables it to be built in line with global environmental standards and designed with the aim to be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certified.
What Does This Mean For Your Organisation?
Projects that use heat transfer from data centres or from servers installed in homes (on the side of water tanks) or in businesses (e.g. to heat swimming pool sites) are becoming popular ways to save energy and energy costs, deal with data centre/server heat removal, help the environment, and help data centre companies meet their environmental targets and improve their green credentials. This urban rooftop garden project shows how modern heat exchange technology, the use of sensors and hydroponics can be combined in an innovative way make productive use of what would have been waste heat and wasted space in a way that benefits many stakeholders and the environment.
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