French-owned power generator EDF Energy wants a refitted datacentre to be twice as power-efficient as before and act as an encouraging reference point for business.

It has decided to retrofit an existing datacentre instead of building a completely new one. It is reported that Benoit Laclau, EDF Energy's MD for business improvement and technology, said, "We have decided to focus on improving an existing site as building a new site has a major carbon footprint attached to that process. We want to show our customers what you can do in terms of energy efficiency with a brown field datacentre."

EDF Energy does not actually know how to do this and is looking for a partner to help with technology choice and deployment. The things it has on its provisional shopping list include green roofing (an earth roof with plants), localised cooling and server virtualisation to increase physical server utilisation.

EDF has announced an environmental strategy whereby it aims to reduce carbon emissions by its offices and depots by 30 percent by 2012. It also aims to cut its power station carbon emissions by 60 percent by 2020. To achieve this it will stop using coal-fired power stations. Many of its power stations in France use nuclear generation and are already green in the carbon emissions sense, though not in the wider green stakes. These, gas-fired stations and renewable energy supplies will produce all EDF Energy's needs after 2020.

EDF Energy's Plymouth office is already partially heated by expelled heat from its datacentre. The new datacentre project is another step in this strategy. The company also supports the Green Technology Initiative.