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Brief Published: 30 Aug 2018

Norwegian Town Places Data Centre at Heart of the Community

Spark City

Norwegian prototype town Lyseparken will place a data centre at the heart of its infrastructure, generating energy for local homes and businesses through waste heat, and using the space inside as a community hub.

Data centres are typically located in remote areas because of their size, and recycle the vast amounts of waste heat produced to provide on-site heating. Lyseparken uses new technology that enables smaller data centres to be constructed in urban areas - and takes the idea one step further by designing the entire town's infrastructure around the data centre.

Currently, around 2% of greenhouse gas emissions are produced by data storage (SparkCity, 2018). The Lyseparken data centre will use a liquid cooling system, sending excess heat to buildings in a nearby business park. Because the liquid cools as it travels, buildings that need more heat will be located close to the data centre. Once the heat has been spent from the liquid, it loops back to cool the data centre again.

Lyseparken is the first implementation of a concept called The Spark, designed by international architecture firm Snøhetta and partners, that "positions data centres as anchors of smart city developments". Its business park will use renewable energy sources, with businesses owning a stake in a local power company, and trading energy for heat from the data centre. Local workers will be housed in 3,000 to 5,000 homes, while the data centre itself will serve as a community hub for socialising, with sports and spa facilities. The data centre will be built later this year as a prototype, with the pilot scheme projected to begin in 2021.

Lyseparken is another example of Norway's dedication to creating sustainable future cities, following the announcement of Oslo Airport City. For more on the future of urban spaces, see our Smart Cities Spotlight Trend.