Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

After a good 20,000 years out of caves, we are heading back to them - and just like your worst fears, it's the damn global warmers leading the way.

Energy Efficiency

300 Million-Year-Old Limestone Cave to Cool Data

After a good 20,000 years out of caves, we are heading back to them – and just like your worst fears, it’s the damn global warmers leading the way.

After a good 20,000 years out of caves, we are heading back to them – and just like your worst fears, it’s the damn global warmers and Al Gore-ists leading the way, because it saves so much energy.


It turns out that limestone caverns might be the cheapest and best option for carbon neutral data-center cooling, because by nature limestone can absorb 1.5 BTUs per square foot for free. And data centers need lots of energy for cooling.

So this time we’re taking computers back in there with us. Or rather we’re leaving them down there. At least the data centers, that is. An experiment in data center energy efficiency has been going on for six months to find the best way to use the natural conditions and engineering designs to make the perfect environment for electronic documents at Iron Mountain.

The goal of Iron Mountain CEO Charles Doughty is to create low cost and energy-efficient data centers in Room 48, 22 stories down inside Iron Mountain, in a 145 acre space in a 1,000-acre abandoned limestone mine.

Rectangular metal containers covering the rows of server racks trap electrical heat and force it up through perforated ceiling tiles, where the limestone roof absorbs the heat buildup. Simple tech. Energy use is 15% lower than traditional data centers. The hope is to get to the point where no energy is used for cooling.

Four hundred million years ago, a teeming ocean covered this area. And over a hundred million years, as billions of tiny crustaceans died, their skeletons settled to the ocean floor, fossilizing and creating layer upon layer of limestone.

This data center would be the oldest building that could qualify for an energy efficiency LEED certification!

Image and Source: Computerworld

Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality and cleantech news coverage? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.

Don't want to miss a cleantech story? Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Written By

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today and Renewable Energy World.  She has also been published at Wind Energy Update, Solar Plaza, Earthtechling PV-Insider , and GreenProphet, Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.


You May Also Like

Autonomous Vehicles

Aviation and aerospace used to be sexy all the time. People dressed up to fly on airplanes. It used to be an event. Being...

Climate Change

An open-source platform model will allow access to any coral researchers; will be transdisciplinary, equitable and inclusive; and will strive for efficiency. Every penny...


Moving into the sexy but impractical quadrant, the top row shows a clear trend, and indeed the trend extends across most of the versions...


All of us, most of the time, wander around on the surface of the Earth. A small percentage travel across rivers, lakes and oceans...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.