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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

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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.


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