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Bill St. Arnaud is a consultant and research engineer who works with clients around the world on a variety of subjects such as next generation Internet networks and developing practical solutions to reduce CO2 emissions such as free broadband and dynamic charging of eVehicles. He is an author of many papers and articles on these topics and is a frequent guest speaker. For more details on my research interests see

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Relocating data centers to colder climates can reduce energy costs by up to 75%

[At the recent On*vector workshop in San Diego, Dallas Thorton of the San Diego Computer Center (SDSC) gave an excellent presentation on CANARIE funded UCSD-McGill project looking at the energy savings by relocating a facility like the SDSC to Canada.
  Their analysis shows that such a strategy could reduce energy costs by as much as 75% and CO2 emissions by 100%.  This represents dollars savings worth tens if not hundreds of millions dollars per year. In an era of drastic funding cuts to universities these type of savings could be redirected into essential research and education programs at our universities.

Institutions like CERN in Geneva are investigating this possibility as well as universities in the Boston area  -

One would might conclude that from this study and many others that Canada would have a natural advantage given its close proximity to the US. Unfortunately the high costs of telecom in Canada, because of foreign ownership restrictions, undermines the business case for relocating US data centers to this country.  Telecom costs in Canada are 8 to 10 times higher than they are in the US.  Low cost, ultra high bandwidth connectivity is essential for attracting data centers and can be as important, if not more important than the cost of energy.


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