Human Flower Project

Warm the Cacti, Cool the Computers

An Indiana city saves on heating, while the university pays less to chill its super computers. Kiss your brain!



Computer scientist 
Paul Brenner of Notre Dame explains how the university’s computers and the city’s desert plants will make beautiful climate together.

Photo: University of Notre Dame

Better than a stroke of genius, here’s a spike of conservation brilliance.

The University of Notre Dame’s computer experts have teamed up with botanists of South Bend, Indiana, to save energy. They’re moving several of the university’s 400-pound computer processors into the city’s Arizona Desert Dome.

The computers shed heat, which is just dandy with the cacti and other Southwestern plants, and air circulating through the 26,000-square-foot greenhouse will help cool the machines. Big computers like these are very expensive to keep cool. “According to The South Bend Tribune, the plan will save the university about $100,000 in utility costs, even after the university pays for the electricity to power the processors.” Nobody knows yet how much the computers’ warmth will save the city, but last year South Bend’s parks department spent $70,000 to heat the desert dome and other conservatories.

According to Kathleen, a South Bend blogger and conservationist, this region of Indiana “relies heavily on coal-powered generators for electricity,” so this Desert Dome/Computer partnership should reduce emissions from burning coal, heating the desert greenhouse while cutting down on greenhouse gases.

This forward-thinking human flower project grew out of the city of South Bend’s commitment to climate protection. Last month, South Bend became one of 800 Cool Cities dedicated to reducing the causes of global warming.


With amaryllis looking on inside the Potawatomi Park Greenhouse, Mayor Stephen Luecke (right) is honored by Christine Fiordalis and Steve Francis of the Sierra Club. South Bend became a “Cool City.”

Photo: Kathleen, If We Only Connect

“This Green computing initiative proves that global challenges can bring out the best of our creativity,” said Mayor Stephen Luecke, “especially when the public and private sector join together to find solutions. It is only the latest of a history of ventures by the City of South Bend to reduce our carbon footprint and make a real difference for the future of our planet.”

Couldn’t such a climate partnership work between any botanical garden (or private business) with greenhouses to heat and any company or institution with computers to keep cool? Congratulations to scientists of Notre Dame and the city of South Bend. May your initiative spike others into collaboration.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/09 at 04:54 PM


wow, this is amazing.

Posted by Lubna on 05/13 at 12:30 PM
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