Japan’s quest for zero-emission data centers that rely less on air-conditioning is harnessing the world’s oldest cooling system: snow.

To reduce the amount of energy needed to keep computers cool, companies are building data centers in colder regions where they can be cooled naturally, said Masafumi Nojiri, Deputy Director at the Environment Ministry’s Global Environment Bureau. The ministry aims to subsidize 50% of the cost of building zero-carbon data centers or upgrading existing facilities to be more eco-friendly as part of a package of initiatives in the ¥757 billion ($7.3 billion) budget it requested for the next fiscal year.

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