Last year, Google teamed up with an interdisciplinary group of students from the University of Washington, the University of Arizona, and the University of Pennsylvania to design more sustainable data centers. The yearlong exploration, supported with funding from Google and expert input from Microsoft, resulted in proposed data centers that use 100% renewable energy.
“It’s a really complex problem,” says architect Julie Kriegh, who led the design studio at the University of Washington along with Hyun Woo “Chris” Lee, a professor in construction management. “We thought of it as a moon shot. So it had to be something where the rules didn’t really apply anymore.”