Green Data Center Concept For The City of Chicago

GreenHouse-DataCenterFor the past eight months I’ve been thinking about a new design concept for a data center within the Chicago area.  There is a continuous need for data center space in the city and I strongly believe that the data center should enhance the surrounding environment as opposed to being just another non-descript concrete building. Some of the main items are better energy efficiency, less build-out or parking lots, and greener space.  After a couple of revisions, my final design places the data center underground with green houses on top.  From a technical perspective, the material currently exists that can continuously protect the data center from water and leaks. Additionally, having the data center underground provides the ability to tap into a 55-degree environment all year round.  In the winter days, outside air will be brought in through make-up air units and then naturally ejected to the green houses above and in the summer time the data center would become a semi-closed geothermal cooled loop.

Although this design is not edgy from a technical perspective, having data centers built with good urban planning is crucial to minimize the negative impact these centers have on their surroundings. This design also provides access to free heat for green houses that will provide year round fresh vegetables at a competitive price in areas that might be under served in the city.

Interestingly enough, as I tried to navigate the City of Chicago “green planners” and others, I found continuous red tape and faced unbelievable radio silence from those in charge of encouraging such ideas.  In many ways, the City of Chicago is a one trick pony based on placing plants on rooftops and any other ideas even though individually financed, have no place within this bigger machine.  Hopefully the new administration will make a difference and currently I’m working with the local aldermen to see if that will provide better results.