RBA Architects have announced the completion of a ground-breaking project that uses waste energy from data centres to power an onsite “urban farm”.
RBA’s design for Equinix’s PA10 data centre, located in Saint Denis, is the first of its kind in France. Core to the client’s sustainability commitment was the desire to reuse waste heat from the data centre, and to generate a usable area that would promote health and wellbeing.
The project comprises a 430m2 roof top greenhouse, surrounded by 570m2 green roof space. The greenhouses are powered using a heat recovery system with heat exchangers linked to the data centre water cooling system. The greenhouses are fitted with sensors to monitor internal and external temperatures and humidity levels, triggering heaters in cooler weather. Together with sunshades, automated irrigation and ventilation systems, they deliver a controlled climate year-round within the greenhouses.
Internally, seasonal fruit and vegetables are cultivated using a hydroponic system to maximise space efficiency and minimise water usage, whilst the gardens are planted with species chosen to maximise the amount of rainwater consumption and support insects and wildlife, with the installation of insect hotels. The gardens are wheelchair accessible, and provide natural shade, cooling, and relaxation spaces. Visitors and staff are invited to share the foods that the project has created, and use the dedicated seating and catering areas.
John Hutchinson from RBA said “it is of increasing importance that we increase our actions to mitigate the environmental impact of an increasingly digital world. We are extremely proud to support our clients with this shared goal and PA10 heralds the start of an exciting new era, enabling us to apply learnings from this project across other projects. Sustainability and safeguarding the environment are at the heart of everything that we do, and this opportunity has already inspired further initiatives across our client base.”