Environment Agency Plants Itself In Green Data Centre

The UK Environment agency is using Capgemini’s Swindon data centre, claimed to be the world’s greenest with a PUE of 1.08

The Environment Agency will be one of the first customers of Capgemini’s new Merlin data centre, due to launch on 17 September, which has been branded “the greenest data centre in the world”.

Located in Swindon, the facility will reportedly set a new global standard for energy efficiency, with a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) rating of 1.08. Known as Merlin, it will also be one of just a handful of data centres in the UK to be certified Tier 3 by the Uptime Institute, for being highly resilient, extremely green and ultimately secure.

Efficient cooling

Offering 3,000m² of technical floor space, spread over 12 “modules”, the data centre uses a combination of fresh air cooling and evaporative cooling, representing a reduction in cooling energy of over 92 percent compared with a conventional data centre using chilled water, and 75 percent compared with a high efficiency modern data centre with free-air cooling.

A module being fitted inside Merlin
A module being fitted inside Merlin

It also has a sophisticated climate control system that continuously monitors the air temperature and quality and makes very fine adjustments to stop cold air loss and prevent recirculation of hot air, improving efficiency.

“Driving out dirty battery-based UPS systems as part of Merlin’s approach to electrical efficiency is something which the industry should have addressed long ago,” said Capgemini in a white paper on the new facility. “With a factory tested PUE rating of 1.08 across all loads and ambient operating temperatures and humidity, Merlin will deliver the best PUE rating gained industry-wide and is testimony to its achievement in energy efficiency.”

The Environment Agency will reportedly occupy two of the 12 modules, according to a report in Computing, with customers for the other ten yet to be confirmed. The Environment Agency was contacted by eWEEK Europe for comment but did not reply in time for the publication of this article.

Green facilities

With the introduction of the government’s Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme earlier this year, British organisations are increasingly looking for greener sources of energy to power their servers and help meet ambitious emissions targets.

Last week it was reported that the first of two new data centres at Cobalt Park in Newcastle has been named as one of the greenest in the UK, after being awarded a BREEAM Excellent rating at the design stage. The facility, known as DC1, was assessed against a broad range of environmental impacts, including energy, pollution, land use and materials, achieving an overall score of 75.78 percent. The centre is also on track to achieve a PUE rating of less than 1.3, the company claimed.

The PUE score of a data centre is the energy delievered to it, divided by the energy which actually reaches the server racks – a score of 1 would mean no energy is needed for cooling the servers. Invented by the sustainable computing group the Green Grid, it has been proposed as a standard for green data centres, although the Green Grid has warned that PUE should not be used to compare one data centre with another, since other factors apply such as the local climate and the computing load.

Service provider Colt has launched pre-fabricated data centres, which it claims have a PUE of around 1.2, and a data centre in a Wiltshire stone mine is pushing for a PUE of 1.2.

Meanwhile, IT services provider Blue Chip opened a five-acre data centre site in Bedfordshire back in July, which uses half the energy of data centres of a similar size; Next Generation Data (NGD) Europe, based in Newport, claims to be the only data centre operator in Europe to run a facility on 100 percent renewable energy; Telehouse West data centre in East London also launched in March, which uses at least 10 percent renewable energy and provides heat to the surrounding housing developments.