Data Island

In an increasingly ubi-comp environment, massive data centers processing or storing data continue to sprout up in contexts and sites of economic and geographic convenience. In a post-Silicone-valley glow, many sites are happy to promote their contexts as ideal for these data centers. Iceland promotes itself as just such a site.

With clean water, stable power and cool air as an ideal location, Iceland is lobbying for the search engines and IT firms to come into the cold. The most alluring project within this agenda is Data Islandia. Data Islandia is a storage company based in Iceland that has tabled a green data center (link via Drunken Data) in the town of Sandgerdi in southwest Iceland. The facility will be built near a former US Naval Air Station, and will use natural wind cooling to reduce energy usage. And I am sure that abundant geothermal is figuring into the convenience to boot. The landform references Icelandic turf farms and makes extensive use of the landscape.

The Sandgerdi data centre will have a moss roof. Putting plants on the roof doesn't just drop a building into the landscape, it can absorb excess water, protect the materials of the roof from the sun, and increase the diversity of flora and fauna. The 4,000 m2 digital data archive is designed by Danish architect Robert Örn Arnarson.

IBM’s Project Big Green is another green data center proposal responding to the economic (and environmental) inefficiency. Today, roughly 50 cents is spent on energy for every dollar of computer hardware. And this is only expected to increase.

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