Free-cooling for Data Centers

Worldline implements a free cooling process for its Vendôme (France) datacenter to reduce its electricity consumption and therefore its CO2 emissions.

Main project's drivers for reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

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Energy and resource efficiency

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Energy Decarbonisation

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Energy efficiency improvements

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Improving efficiency in non-energy resources

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Emission removal

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Financing low-carbon issuers or disinvestment from carbon assets

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Reduction of other greenhouse gases emission

Project objectives

Improving data centers energy performance, particularly with regard to the cooling process in order to reduce data centers carbon footprint.

Detailed project description

Electricity consumption is one of the main environmental impact of a data center.

The project consists of replacing standard air conditioning with “Free Cooling” technology, a cooling solution using direct injection of outside air, when weather conditions allow, generally between April and September. The configuration of the Vendôme building and the positioning of the Air Handling Units (AHUs) which capture and filter outside air make this solution possible. This naturally cool air greatly reduces the energy consumption of the air conditioners.

Emission scope(s)

on which the project has a significant impact

Scope 1

Direct emissions generated by the company's activity.

Scope 2

Indirect emissions associated with the company's electricity and heat consumption.

Scope 3

Emissions induced (upstream or downstream) by the company's activities, products and/or services in its value chain.

Emission Removal

Carbon sinks creation, (BECCS, CCU/S, …)

Avoided Emissions

Emissions avoided by the activities, products and/or services in charge of the project, or by the financing of emission reduction projects.

Scope 2 – Lower electricity consumption thanks to “Free cooling” technology for an equal level of service.

  • Quantification : – 50 tCO2/year (en 2020)

The energy savings are mainly linked to the implementation of free cooling. However, other energy efficiency projects have been carried out in parallel.

In 2019, electricity consumption was reduced by 5.37% (i.e. a saving of 459586 kWh) and 32 tons of CO2 equivalent were avoided. It should be noted that since the project started during the year, the full benefits were not achieved until 2020.

In 2020, electricity consumption was reduced by 8.51% (i.e. a saving of 728320 kWh) and 51 tons of CO2 equivalent were avoided.

The emission factor of the French grid electricity used comes from the International Energy Agency: 69.4g CO2e/kWh.

NB: Free cooling reduces the use of certain air conditioning equipment, in particular compressors and dryers, which could lead to an extension of their life span and a reduction in maintenance costs. It is not yet possible to precisely quantify the frequency of equipment replacement following the implementation of “Free Cooling”.

Key points

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Invested amount

40 000 €

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Starting date of the project


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Project localisation

Vendôme, Loir et Cher

Project maturity level

Prototype laboratory test (TRL 7)

Real life testing (TRL 7-8)

Pre-commercial prototype (TRL 9)

Small-scale implementation

Medium to large scale implementation

Economic profitability of the project (ROI)

Short term (0-3years)

Middle term (4-10 years)

Long term (> 10 years)

Illustrations of the project

In the long term, this project will also reduce indoor noise pollution for the employees working on this site because the air conditioning compressors are actually too noisy.

Free cooling requires a special building design. To implement this technology, the site must have large downdraft columns, high false floors to allow the circulation of large volumes of air, and an adapted fire extinguishing system. The project is hard to deploy in data centers that do not have this type of building configuration.

Le projet a été réalisé en interne.

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