The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has awarded a consortium, which is headed up by Cambridge-based start-up Alquist, £1 million of government funding to assist UK data centres in reducing their carbon footprint.

Alquist will work with its consortium members, Verizon and Schneider, to achieve significant CO2 reductions by integrating the start-up's Celsius temperature monitoring system into two of their London-based data centres.

Celsius uses advanced laser technology and fibre-optics to create high definition temperature maps of data centre server racks and power transmission equipment. This real-time information should enable data centre staff to optimise airflow and air conditioning settings pro-actively.

Alquist claims that in mid-sized data centres, a 10 to 30 percent reduction in electricity bills and be achieved, as well as a reduction of 2,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per annum.

"Data centre managers have very limited visibility of temperature fluctuation across their data halls. Celsius offers thousands of real-time sensing points. This new visibility enables managers to cool equipment far more efficiently, and make significant energy savings," said Andrew Jones, founder of Alquist.

"We are delighted that DECC is investing in an area with huge potential for CO2 reduction."

According to the start-up, data centres are forecast to consume 6 percent of UK electricity by 2020. It hopes that the government funding will help it refine the Celsius system and provide hard evidence of actual savings at the consortium projects.

"Operating cooling systems efficiently whilst avoiding hotspots is one of the key challenges faced by data centre operators," said consortium member Verizon's technical facilities lead, Natalie Hooper.

"Celsius provides a simple, cost-effective way of gathering necessary temperature information in order to pro-actively manage equipment more effectively."

She added: "Verizon is aggressively taking steps to reduce its energy consumption worldwide."