Companies like Google and IBM are constantly clamoring to prove that they have energy-efficient data centers, but a new cloud computing hub located in the bedrock below Helsinki's famous Uspenski Cathedral might have them all beat. The data center, built by IT firm Academica and scheduled to go live in January, will capture heat from computer servers and use it to warm Finnish homes via a network of water-heated pipes.
Academica's data center, which the company claims is the greenest in existence, will use just half the energy of a typical data center, provide heat for 500 homes, and save Academica approximately $563,000 each year on power. So why haven't we seen more underground data centers? For one thing, not every city is lucky enough to have massive underground bomb shelters like the one being used by Academica. But rest assured that Academica's innovation won't go unnoticed.
Eventually, Google might trump the Finnish company with a super-green data center of its own. The search giant filed a patent last year for a floating data center that uses ocean water to stay cool and wave energy to power on-board computers.