Microsoft has opened a new $500m green datacentre in Ireland in a bid to boost European sales of its hosted and cloud-based services.
The official opening ceremony was presided over by Irish Taioseach Brian Cowen and is one of the largest construction projects to take place in the financially battered Republic over the past 12 months. It took about one million man-hours to complete and employed a workforce of around 2,100 at its peak.
The opening of the datacentre is a milestone in our ongoing investment in Europe and provides the critical infrastructure to support the delivery of our next generation of online services for both businesses and consumers, said Jean-Philippe Courtois, president of Microsofts international business.
The site, which covers 303,000 square feet, has been recognised by the European Commissions Sustainable Energy Europe Campaign as conforming to environmental best practice.
As a result, it is 50 per cent more energy-efficient than datacentres built only three years ago, Microsoft claimed, and can generate up to 5.4 MWh of critical power.
This energy-efficiency is due to several factors. The facility exploits Irelands low ambient air temperature for use in its free air cooling system, which means that it is only necessary to use mechanical or refrigerated cooling systems for about five per cent of the time.
Mechanical cooling systems typically account for around 38 per cent of the power consumed in the average datacentre, while not having to use a chilled water-based cooling system saves 18 million litres of water each month.