Design Meets Performance Inside London’s Newest Data Center

Russell Poole

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Data centers consume a lot of power. In fact, according to Intel, they consume about 1.5% of the world’s electricity output. That might not seem like much, but when you realize this costs $27 billion and generates 210 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, you start to take it seriously.

Their heavy power consumption makes data centers prime targets for energy-efficient design measures. But the fact is that data centers are rarely built with an open mind, and their designs are often constrained by the past. Short design cycles and cost pressures push developers to reuse strategies and specifications that worked “well enough” before.

But things can be different when the developer starts with a blank canvas and builds from the ground up. That’s what we’re doing in Equinix‘s newest facility, LD6 in London.

Starting from the ground up provides engineers with inspiration, excitement and possibilities. All architectural constraints are removed, replaced by opportunities to improve efficiency and performance that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible. In today’s competitive environment, approaching old problems in new ways, or reinventing the way that something is done, is what differentiates companies.

With LD6, we’re pushing the boundaries of data center design. By starting with a greenfield site, we’re able to take advantage of existing external and natural conditions in creative ways and harness them to improve design and performance. As a result, LD6 will have a lower energy consumption and smaller carbon footprint than other facilities of its kind. Only by developing a new facility unconstrained by existing architecture can we fully consider all design aspects and how to modify the technology accordingly.

Some of the unique design aspects of LD6 include:

  • A cooling system that utilizes 100% natural ventilation, mass air-cooling technology that takes advantage of London’s natural climate, and an indirect heat exchange system that cuts emissions.
  • Over 85% free cooling to data halls from the use of energy-efficient indirect evaporative cooling air handling units.
  • 90% of water used will be recovered. Rainwater harvesting will reduce the water consumption of the air handling units.
  • Natural ventilation will be used within the LD6 office building.

The uniqueness of LD6 isn’t limited to its design features. The building has regional and global importance to Equinix as it expands both our London Slough campus and our global platform of 100-plus data centers on five continents.

A quarter of European equities trades originate at our London Slough campus, and LD6 will offer a new route in and out of this growing financial center. It will also open new opportunities for interconnection and collaboration with the network, cloud, IT and content providers already among the 4,500 customers inside Equinix worldwide.

To learn more about LD6, visit our website here.