Google new Belgian data-center uses weather prediction to save energy, shifting work to cooler centers when the mercury rises, rather than using energy-sucking electric coolers.
Google has taken the strategy to the next level. Rather than using chillers part-time, the company has eliminated them entirely in its data center near Saint-Ghislain, Belgium, which began operating in late 2008 and also features an on-site water purification facility that allows it to use water from a nearby industrial canal rather than a municipal water utility.
The climate in Belgium will support free cooling almost year-round, according to Google engineers, with temperatures rising above the acceptable range for free cooling about seven days per year on average. The maximum temperature in Brussels during summer reaches 66 to 71 degrees, while Google maintains its data centers at temperatures above 80 degrees.
So what happens if the weather gets hot? On those days, Google says it will turn off equipment as needed in Belgium and shift computing load to other data centers. This approach is made possible by the scope of the company's global network of data centers, which provide the ability to shift an entire data center's workload to other facilities.