This week Apple revealed plans to create two data centres in Denmark and Ireland at a cost of 1.7bn euros (£1.25bn), running entirely on renewable energy.
With the technology industry responsible for a substantial portion of global emissions, the Cupertino-based firm is one of many keen to boost their ‘green’ credentials by ditching fossil fuels and creating more efficient infrastructure.
Here are 10 of the greenest data centres across the world…
Apple’s two new sites are set to go live in 2017, making good on the firm’s pledge to use 100 percent renewable energy at its global data centres.
The facilities in Ireland and Denmark will create renewable energy jobs in the surrounding areas and take advantage of their strong wind resources, the firm said.
Facebook’s solution to the huge costs of cooling tens of thousands of servers packed into a data centre facility is simple: put it in one of coldest parts of the world.
It’s data centre in Luleå, Sweden, is located within the Arctic Circle, making use of its chilly climate for natural cooling, while also relying on locally located hydroelectric energy to power its hardware.
Working with Schneider Electric, the Swedish data centre startup is building what it claims will be the world’s first ‘carbon negative’ facility.
The site, located in the Swedish mining city of Falun, relies on wind and solar power from a nearby plant and will feed back excess heat generated from servers into the municipal energy systems for nearby businesses and homes.
4. Hewlett Packard
HP’s Wynyard data centre - located in the north-east of England - may be more easily accessible than the far-flung corners of Scandinavia but is still able to makes use of the cold winds from the the North Sea to naturally cool its servers.
5. Verne Global
Though others have come along since, back in 2012 UK firm Verne Global claimed that its data centre in Keflavik, Iceland, was the first to be 100 percent reliant on renewable resources.
Built by Verne Global with major provider provider Colt, the modular data centre makes use of the region’s abundant hydroelectric and geothermal resources.
The American bank was the first to be awarded the coveted Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum rating from the US Green Building Council (USGBC) back in 2009, for its Frankfurt data centre.
Extra credit was presumably awarded for taking its ‘green’ ambitions quite literally - the walls of the 230,000 square foot facility are covered in vegetation, with garden across its roof.
7. National Security Agency
The NSA’s $860 million Fort Meade data centre may be best known as the nerve centre for the US spooks’ surveillance operations, but is also regarded as one of the more energy efficient facilities, using wastewater from the surrounding area to cool its hardware.
Booming demand for cloud computing resources may be good for the IT industry, but less so for the environment. To support the expansion of its Azure platform, Microsoft has invested almost £1 billion in its Virginia facility, though minus the cost of a roof for many of its data centre modules.
Apple has come under fire for the energy efficiency of its data centres from the likes of Greenpeace in the past as it built out its iCloud capabilities.
It subsequently attempted to clean up its act, with measures including building massive solar arrays near its North Carolina site; a 20-megawatt, 100-acre facility that is said to be the largest end-user-owned onsite solar array in the country.
10. Green Mountain Data Center
As well as being one of the greenest this data centre in Stavanger, Norway, has got to be one of the most secure. Built inside a mountain on an island, the 22,000 square metre site was formerly a hideout for Nato during the Cold War.
Using hydroelectric power and seawater from the surrounding icy fjords to cool its halls, the data centre has one of the lowest Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) ratings in the world, at 1.1.