You won’t hear Google complain about the Irish weather. Ireland’s wet damp climate is a key reason Google have settled their major headquarters outside the U.S. there.
Writing in The Guardian, Henry McDonald explained how Irish weather plays a significant role in helping keep the energy costs for Google and other technology firms down.
"It's not often that Irish weather is a cause for praise, but the temperate climate was very significant in choosing Ireland as a location for this data centre," said Dan Costello, Google's global data center operations officer.
McDonald writes how Google has managed to reduce the amount of energy it uses worldwide to cool down its data systems to just 12% of its energy bill. Google has just established a $75m data processing center alongside its European headquarters in Dublin, insisting that the chilly climate makes it more energy efficient – and hence "greener" – to cool down its servers.
"It's not quite as simple as just opening the windows, but it's pretty close," added Costello.
Google has played an integral role in establishing what is now deemed ‘Silicon Docks’ - the area in South Dublin that multinational tech firms have been flocking to in order to set up shop. Google’s European headquarters in Dublin is joined by Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Zynga, HP and Dropbox.
Tech firms are flocking to the Irish capital for a number of reasons, including a young, highly-educated workforce, and low corporate tax rate of 12.5 percent. Now, however, the weather is becoming an increasingly attractive factor as well.
Maurice Mortell, Telecity's managing director, emphasized the importance of the weather for the data processing industry. "The growth of the digital economy is creating significant demand for IT infrastructure environments … The cooling element of these IT facilities is one of the reasons why Ireland is a popular choice for data centres," he says.
Dublin’s alluring weather has been a selling point for tech companies since at least 2009 when American independent technology research company Forrester Research urged, “Make sure you consider Dublin, it is becoming an ever-more popular alternative to London for the more abundant power, less expensive real estate, and climate suited for free cooling."
Charlie Connelly, the author of a recent history of the weather Bring Me Sunshine, said recently, "Maybe Ireland will now embrace its climate. Some have tried already, most notably the 19th-century writer William Bulfin from County Offaly, who described the Irish rain as 'a kind of damp poem. It is a soft, apologetic, modest kind of rain, as a rule; and even in its wildest moods it gives you the impression that it is treating you as well as it can under the circumstances.' But this [Google's recent investment] is probably the first recorded case of anyone planning a move to Ireland because of the weather.”
Originally published in 2012.
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