European data center provider Interxion is no stranger to innovation. Over the years, the company has been a pioneer in modular design and hot aisle containment, and is now using seawater to cool a Stockholm data center, generating some serious efficiency benefits. Energy costs have been reduced by 80 percent, the company said, slashing enough IT load to allow additional customers to colocate in the facility.
Interxion says the Power usage Effectiveness (PUE) for its Stockholm facility has dropped to 1.09, making it one of the most efficient data centers in Europe. The type of efficiency Interxion is experiencing in Stockholm is most commonly associated with facilities using air economization (free cooling) to leverage the cool environment in cool servers.
“We don’t use outside air. We use chilled water, and we achieve 1.2 from this,” said Lex Coors, VP data center technology for Interxion. “With the sea water we can achieve a PUE of 1.1 because we do not have to cool it over time. With sea water, you can take it in and push it out easily.”
Mother Nature as Your Chiller
Seawater cooling systems pump deep, cold seawater through a data center’s HVAC system. As a result, the air circulating within a facility is cooled, which has the effect of lowering the inside temperature. Although the mechanics of this process are similar to chiller systems, seawater cooling completely eliminates the need to cool water down, which requires high levels of energy.
Interxion’s seawater cooling system is particularly notable because it runs water through multiple data centers multiple times, instead of the conventional strategy to run water through just one facility. This method also reduces operational and environmental costs, as it requires half the amount of water to cool each of the data centers. Interxion also doubles the use of seawater by reusing the warm water to heat local offices and residential buildings before returning it to the sea.
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