Back in February, Apple announced a plan to build and operate two data centres in Europe. The facilities, located in County Galway, Ireland, and Denmark’s central Jutland, will be used to power Apple’s online services including the App Store, Maps and Siri – specifically for European customers.
But the most interesting thing about the announcement wasn’t the €1.7 billion price tag, and it wasn’t that Apple stated that each of the data centres will be powered by 100% renewable energy, it was that they will be using excess heat from the facility to warm nearby homes. The facility is designed to capture excess heat from equipment inside the facility and conduct it into the district heating system to help warm homes in the neighbouring community.
So, essentially, they will be recycling renewable energy.
Like all Apple data centres, the new facilities will run entirely on renewable energy, and Apple will also work with local partners to develop additional renewable energy projects from wind or other sources to provide power in the future. These facilities will have the lowest environmental impact yet for an Apple data centre.
“We believe that innovation is about leaving the world better than we found it, and that the time for tackling climate change is now,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environmental Initiatives. “We’re excited to spur green industry growth in Ireland and Denmark and develop energy systems that take advantage of their strong wind resources. Our commitment to environmental responsibility is good for the planet, good for our business and good for the European economy.”
The two data centres, each measuring 166,000 square metres, are expected to begin operations in 2017 and include designs with additional benefits for their communities, such as restoring native trees to Derrydonnell Forest in Athenry, Ireland. The project will also provide an outdoor education space for local schools, as well as a walking trail for the community.