back to article Wondering what to do with those empty offices? How about a data centre?

British-based open source advocacy company OpenUK rounded off the COP26 summit by donating a Net Zero Data Centre Blueprint to the Eclipse Foundation. The framework represents a step away from the giant data centres beloved by the cloud behemoths in favour of something a little more sustainable. Also, as OpenUK's …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Does this "blueprint" actually exist? It's not easy to make out what it might be worth without reading it. Odd, I thought, there's no link in the article.

    Obviously the place to look is the OpenUK site. There's the press release on which the article's based. I found a "Read more" link which simply went to a similar article in Computer Weekly. A quick search reveals a few more similar articles based on the press release. Maybe the Eclipse site has a link. Nope, the Eclipse site doesn't even have any mention of it.

    Maybe the press release is the actual "blueprint".

    It's not even April 1st.

    1. KomradeSheep

      The framework is now up at the Eclipse Foundation here:

      Git location is here:

      So the project has started and it will continue to evolve.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        I'm not surprised the press release didn't provide links. Except for aspirations it appears to be an empty high ceremony management process framework. Maybe hitting the COP event with PR was more significant than having something that could actually be pointed to. It's not clear how the issues raised in other comments here are to be met.

        The lowest impact data centres will be those in places where there is ample renewable energy and/or low external temperatures for cooling, such as Iceland and Norway.

        If the gains are purely in terms of repurposing empty urban buildings then there are better options. We currently have a separation between residential housing and workplaces. The commuting that results from that should be seen* as unsustainable. The best solution would be to convert some workplace space into housing for people who work in the remaining workplaces and move other work out into the surrounding, currently residential, communities. This is not aided by the short-sighted conversion, in areas like mine, of the few remaining former industrial sites into housing.

        * And probably will be when it's too late.

        1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

          not just energy

          "The best solution would be to convert some workplace space into housing for people who work in the remaining workplaces and move other work out into the surrounding, currently residential, communities."

          While I agree living close to work is more sustainable, if that's a hard requirement it means you have to change home and job at the same time. Which amounts to a transfer of power from worker to landlord, or employer, or both.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yet another example of bean counters and politicians and idealists trying to tell tech and physics how they're supposed to work.

    Unfortunately for them, the physics of power delivery and cooling don't give a rat's fat patoot about their ideals.

    1. Bitsminer Silver badge


      The average human is about 100 watts. The average office ventilation is intended for two humans and a laptop, so, maybe 400 watts.

      The average rack of servers is about, oh, maybe somewhere between 3 kilowatts and 50 kilowatts, depending on your budget.

      Sure, put your rack in my old office. And be sure to supply something to cook like sausages or toast for the 6 minutes the rack will stay powered before catching on fire.

      1. seven of five

        Re: toast

        Actually, walls, ceiling, floor, windows all absorb, radiate and otherwise disperse a surprising amount of heat as soon as the servers begin to exceed their maximum operating temperature, locking theirs fans in "flat out". And rather most of the machines will continue to operate until the room temperature is above "breathable".

        BTDTNT. Could not even open the fucking door, as the door handle was same temperature as inside. Most of the hard drives failed within the next years, though.

    2. Commswonk

      ...the physics of power delivery and cooling don't give a rat's fat patoot about their ideals.

      Ditto the physics of maximum floor loading.

      1. J. Cook Silver badge

        Yup. Cause nothing says hilarity like a couple million dollars (and several metric tones) worth of data center punching though the floor that's not rated for it.

        Well, it's hilarity for the person who's watching it and is not responsible for the charlie foxtrot, not so much for the people who signed off on it...

  3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    I have a blueprint

    To repurpose disused coal mines as high speed rail.

    Well when I say a blueprint, more a concept, well call it a bullet point, but we hope to have a logo in a couple of months then an acronym

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge

      Re: I have a blueprint

      Coal Access Tunnel Supporting Hasty Intercity Trains.

      Might need to work on the acronym.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: I have a blueprint

        But the logo is obvious

        1. J. Cook Silver badge

          Re: I have a blueprint

          One of the US meg-a retailers already has the one I was thinking of, actually. (The Mart of Wal, to be specific...)

    2. Chris G

      Re: I have a blueprint

      Does the plan allow for bringing the coal mines to the surface for easier access or are they going to stay where they are?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I have a blueprint

      APTDP Initiative






      Which strives to deliver the:







      Monitored by:






  4. Evil Scot

    Not a Typo

    Seams that like its namesake it lacks the flexibility of its namesake.

    And given the security nightmares of the legacy tech things will be at risk if unwanted exposure.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not a Typo

      Not just 'security nightmares of the legacy tech', there is also the physical security of the kit

      And 'legacy tech' may not be as energy efficient. That might be fine if the increased power consumption is balanced out by a drop in heating costs in the winter, but you are liable to be spending more of cooling/ventilation in the summer... unless you strap on heat exchangers to heat the building's hot water

      1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

        Winter and Summer

        Put the data center on a barge and sail to the other pole with the season.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Winter and Summer

          The one and only datacentre should be on the moon.

  5. jmch Silver badge

    Bulding life cycle...

    More likely , massive amounts of office space will fall into disuse and disrepair as more and more people work from home, before a new wave of hipsters takes over to repurposethem into converted open-space lofts...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bulding life cycle...

      Even more likely, the building owners will convert them for accommodation. You can fit a lot of bedsits and single-bedroom apartments into an office building. Do it right and you can rent them to councils to house homeless people and those on their lists. See

      for an example from pre-lockdown times.

  6. Korev Silver badge

    Diminishing returns

    At the heart of the concept are processes to cut down on the footprint of the traditional data centre – almost a move back toward local, smaller sites rather than football-sized darkened rooms of servers.

    I dunno, I think a football is already quite small for a datacentre....

  7. MatthewSt

    Buzzword Bingo!

    Got to get 5G in the article somehow. If you're close enough to the mast to get decent speed and latency (250 metres), you might as well just get the fibre installed.

  8. Starace

    You what?

    So the idea is to cram obsolete inefficient kit into buildings without the power, cooling, communications, security or floor load capacity to support them? And to dress this idea up with some sort of environmentally friendly cover?

    I'm sure there's a small flaw in there somewhere.

  9. Dave 15

    Always silly

    I have always thought it very very silly when on one side of the road you have a data centre, or even a server room, with air conditioning to get rid of the excess heat, with next door or over the road a shop using electricity to generate heat to keep the shop (or flat) warm. Perhaps the answer is in a data centre instead of a boiler for everyones house-office-shop?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Always silly

      Actually, when I went to U of S in Saskatchewan, Canada back in the '80s, the waste heat from the data centers *was* collected and repurposed. Our winters are *cold*; the heating bills are astronomical if you don't do everything you can to keep them down.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Always silly

      If everyone ran a Bitcoin node and a basic mining rig, nobody would ever have to pay for heating again. The heating system that pays for itself.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Always silly

        HA HA HA HA HA no.

    3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Always silly

      There are community heating schemes. the problem is that in the summer people want the plant to keep running but don't want the heat. So you need to build an extra cooling system which you need to maintain all winter when you aren't using it - sometimes you even need to heat it to stop stuff freezing !

  10. Nifty Silver badge

    SMRs would fit nicely into many of these defunct office blocks. You guys lack imagination!

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