Equinix is growing data centre-powered fruit and veg
The data centre company has installed a rooftop farm at one of its sites to make use of excess heat
Equinix has revealed a new rooftop farm on one of its data centres in France.
The farm makes use of waste data centre energy to power itself, and is located on the Equinix PA10 data centre in Saint-Denis, Paris.
The goal of the project was to promote the sustainable use of data centres, as well as promote health and wellbeing since the food grown is expected to be shared among staff and visitors, said Reid Brewin Architects (RBA), the company that designed and built the project.
RBA said that seasonal fruit and vegetables can be grown in the greenhouse through its hydroponic system. Hydroponics have been used to minimise water usage and make the most of the space.
The facility consists of a 430m² greenhouse along with 570m² of green space, and the garden is powered through a heat recovery system linked to heat exchangers connected to the data centre’s water cooling system.
The greenhouse is able to monitor humidity, external temperature, and internal temperature through various sensors.
If it gets too cold, for example, heaters will be turned on. It is also able to provide a controlled climate throughout the year since it has sunshades, ventilation, and automated irrigation systems.
In the gardens outside of the greenhouse, insect hotels have been installed to promote biodiversity. The garden's plant selection was a specific one. Only species of plants that rely on rainwater consumption are being grown for maximum sustainability.
“We’re extremely proud to support our clients with this shared goal, and PA10 heralds the start of an exciting new era, enabling us to apply learnings from this project across other projects,” said John Hutchinson, director at RBA.
“Sustainability and safeguarding the environment are at the heart of everything we do, and this opportunity has already inspired further initiatives across our client base.”
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Waste heat from data centres has been used by other firms in a number of creative ways. Microsoft, for example, revealed in March 2022 that it was building a new data centre in Finland which would use excess heat to power local homes, businesses, and services. A district heating system was set to be constructed to connect heat from the server cooling process to buildings in the local area.
More recently, the UK startup Deep Green announced that it's using data centre waste heat to power local businesses and swimming pools, as reported by Business Green. It has installed its infrastructure at the Exmouth Leisure Centre in Devon and is looking to expand it to buildings in Bristol and Manchester in the future.
Exmouth Leisure Centre currently has 12 servers installed on its premises used to heat its swimming pool - an initiative expected to save more than £20,000 per year when it comes to heating costs.
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