Reid Brewin Architects (RBA) has announced the completion of a ground-breaking project that uses waste energy from data centres to power a rooftop ‘urban farm’ on the outskirts of Paris.
RBA’s design for the Equinix PA10 data centre, located in Saint Denis, is the first of its kind in France. Central to the client’s sustainability commitment was the desire to reuse waste heat from the data centre, and to create a usable area that would promote health and wellbeing.
The project comprises a 430m2 greenhouse surrounded by a further 570m2 of green space, with the rooftop structures powered using a heat recovery system with heat exchangers linked to the data centre’s water cooling system.
Each greenhouse is fitted with sensors to monitor humidity as well as internal and external temperatures – which can trigger heaters in cooler weather. Together with sunshades, automated irrigation, and ventilation systems, they deliver a controlled climate year-round within the greenhouses.
The development means seasonal fruit and vegetables can be cultivated using a hydroponic system, in a bid to maximise space efficiency and minimise water usage, while the gardens are planted with vegetation chosen specifically to maximise the amount of rainwater consumption, while supporting the local insects and wildlife, with the installation of insect hotels.
All rooftop garden space is wheelchair accessible, and provides natural shade, cooling, and relaxation areas. Visitors and staff are invited to share the food grown on site, and to make the most of the dedicated seating and catering areas.
“It is of increasing importance that we increase our actions and mitigate the environmental impact of an increasingly digital world,” explained John Hutchinson, director at RBA.
“We’re 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 we do, and this opportunity has already inspired further initiatives across our client base.”