In a new town called Lyseparken, being built from scratch on vacant land near Bergen, Norway, a data center will help heat surrounding businesses–part of a design that could create the world’s first energy-positive city.
“Our first goal was to make a self-sufficient area by using local, renewable resources,” says Fredrik Seliussen, who is leading the project for the local municipality of Os, which wanted to develop the land to bring new jobs to the area. “After we had theoretically solved this . . . we decided to go further to the next level. The goal was not to be carbon neutral–but it might be the result of our business model.”
Data centers are typically built in remote areas because they use so much land; one data center in Nevada sprawls over 7.2 million square feet. But new, smaller data centers can be built in urban areas, reducing the time it takes to transfer data to users and creating a new opportunity to make use of a data center’s other product–an enormous amount of waste heat.