Hewlett Packard has recently published a research paper on the feasibility of “cow-powered” data centers, according to an article from GreenBiz.com.
Cow-power means converting manure into energy by way of a biogas handler and electricity-generating turbines. The strategy’s overall goals are to cut down on methane pollution, reduce energy consumption that might otherwise be derived from burning fossil-fuels, and turn waste products into a usable commodity. Locating any business adjacent to a dairy farm could benefit the environment, the farmer, and the company in a truly symbiotic relationship. One downside involves moving the business away from cities (a move that could, in some cases, decrease total efficiency).
This technology has already been implemented in some power plants and factories. But why are data servers particularly good candidates for biogas? Among other reasons, the servers and storage units produce a lot of heat, and that heat can be put back into the biogas handler as usable energy.
Biogas is just one of many innovative solutions proposed for green design. As with any innovation, new rewards come with new risks. Design professionals must prepare for any possible claims that relate to their green building services. The usual culprits include breach of warranty and breach of contract if the building’s efficiency does not meet the project owner’s expectations. New risks could involve third-party claims concerning health and safety. Green building innovation, however, cannot be ignored as it promises to be the future of the design industry.