Data farms take up lots of space, suck a ton of energy, and generate a large amount of heat. Whereas keeping sets of servers cool can be a complicated endeavor, the city of Helsinki is putting that excess thermal energy to good use with the creation of what a local power firm has called the “greenest data center on the planet“. Situated in a cave beneath the gorgeous Uspenski Cathedral, the new data center will provide enough heat to keep 500 homes warm.

sustainable design, green design, cathedral data farm, recycled heating, helsinki data farm, Uspenski CathedralPhoto by cvander

The new server farm will be located in the bedrock beneath Uspenski Cathedral, which places it in close proximity to the district heating network, which consists of an underground system of pipes filled with heated water. Heat from the servers will be captured and transferred to this network, which will then send it out to 500 homes throughout the city.

According to Reuters, data centers account for up to 30% of many corporations energy bills and 55-60% of that energy goes towards cooling costs. Helsinki’s new server farm stands to greatly reduce this cost while keeping the servers cool, so by all accounts it’s a win-win situation. The new data center is set to open in January 2010.

Reuters via Gizmodo