Data centers suck up a lot of energy and take up a lot of space. Just one of Facebook's data centers occupies a 307,000-square-foot lot. What's worse? We're going to need even more of them to store our ever-growing stock of tweets and Instagram posts.
One architectural firm wants to shrink data centers' physical and ecological footprint by replacing them with clean energy-powered towers. Valeria Mercuri and Marco Merletti won third place in eVolo's 2016 skyscraper design competition for their glossy motherboard-shaped data center.
Cool temperatures: They chose Iceland as the location of their proposed data center to take advantage of its low temperatures. Data centers require a lot of cooling, and Iceland's naturally cold climate is an ideal way to naturally keep servers at a good temperature.
Server pods are located on the outside of the building. Inside is a cylindrical core into which heat from the servers flows; it's also where pods are moved to the ground floor so workers can make repairs. A fan at the top of the building helps keep the interior from overheating, and heat from the servers is also distributed to laboratories and greenhouses in the basement. In addition to a natural heating and cooling system, the building would rely on geothermal and hydroelectric power.
Just a dream: For now, the building remains a concept, but it could become a reality. Tech companies are looking for ways to build energy efficient data centers, and innovative designs like these just might catch their attention.