Real estate developer MIRIS has selected Asplan Viak, Nokia, Skanska and SnÃ¸hetta to design "the Spark," a concept where energy and heat from a data centre fuels cities.
Data centres are typically located in remote areas, but The Spark wants to place its facility in the middle of a city, creating an "energy loop", where excess heat from the data centre provides thermal energy to the city, before it ends up in the centre again, cooling it down – a process that the architect compared to blood travelling through the body.
SnÃ¸hetta said the project imagined sustainable data centers that would function as "the body and brain" of future cities.
Currently, data storage creates 2% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, a figure that is likely to increase over time. The Spark aims to turn the emissions into "energy-producing resource for communities to generate their own power".
SnÃ¸hetta said: "By powering sports and recreational facilities, the Spark also aims to reintroduce a human touch back into our digitalised and smartphone-driven lives, making the very body and mind of a living and breathing city of the future."
A pilot study has taken place in Lyseparken in Os, Norway, that will test the Spark’s feasibility on a real site. If successful, Lyseparken may become an energy-positive town, meaning it will produce more than it consumes.
More information about the project is available here.
Images courtesy of MIRIS/SnÃ¸hetta