Housed within an empty Second World War bomb shelter at Orthodox Uspenski Cathedral, the 2MW database center in Helsinki has begun providing heat for 500 homes or 1,000 flats in the city. This will help the city dwellers to cope with relentless cold continental climate owing to the mitigating influences of the Baltic Sea and Gulf Stream. The Finnish IT company Academica is utilizing warm water, which was previously being used to cool the servers, for bringing it about. Once the heat is extracted, the water is redirected to servers for cooling purposes.
Academica worked with Helsingin Energia, an energy company owned by the city of Helsinki, to design a system that could use the icy waters of the Baltic Sea for cooling the servers. A separate pipe system of desalinated water transfers the heat through the city’s vast underground tunnel network to the district heating system. Hoping to save about £140,000 a year from the project, Academica will now build a second data centre – supposed to be ten times larger than the one already built – to provide heat for the city.
Image Courtesy: Flickr (Creative Commons License)