The Data Center Is Not Dead Part II

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But existing data centers must be part of the sustainable built environment.

Just three years ago a data center was commonly viewed as a 20-25 year asset. Hyperscale data centers were considered to have an even shorter life span.

Serverfarm rejects this. It believes that wherever possible existing data centers can and should be modernized with the latest efficient electrical and mechanical equipment. They should be operated for maximum efficiency using the latest monitoring tools available.

Serverfarm understands long term infrastructure data center investments. It also understands it operates in a wider environmental context that is seeing the world economy shift onto a greener, more sustainable footing.


The EU green deal is a set of proposals to create a greenhouse gas net neutral economy across Europe by 2050.


To reach such a target industry is being encouraged to innovate, the energy sector will be decarbonized, and buildings must be made more energy efficient.


“…existing data centers can and should be modernized with the latest efficient electrical and mechanical equipment.”

The EU Green deal is an example of the measures being taken around the world to decarbonize the global economy.

In June 2020 the US the Democratic Party unveiled a plan which includes a “a clean energy standard for net-zero electricity by 2040 and net-zero new buildings by 2030.” 


The implications are wide and deep for energy intensive built environments such as data centers.


In future all data centers will be operating as part of the circular economy – where waste is continually reduced, efficiency increased and the whole of life carbon and GHG cost of everything is measured.


The EU deal itself calls for a renovation wave. It also promises strict enforcement of energy efficiency targets.


Serverfarm is unique in the data center sector in that it started its modernization and renovation journey more than ten years ago. With facilities in Chicago, Santa Clara at its TiTAN data center Serverfarm built its pedigree for renovation and retro-fitting for long term sustainability. In 2019 its award winning LON1 data center conversion project was the latest such project to be completed.

In London Serverfarm created a Tier3+ environment in terms of uptime and efficiency through cost-effective modernization of existing electrical gear, new switches and UPS equipment. This transformation created N+1 electrical infrastructure with A+B feeds combined with new super-efficient chillers and new CRAC units, ultimately developing an N+1 mechanical environment.

Serverfarm expanded capacity on the site by 4MW – up from 6MW of original capacity. At the same time it created a flexible, multi-tenant data centre ready for low to high density workloads ranging from 1-4kW per rack to 20kW per rack with a design PUE of below 1.2.
See full Case Study here.

The London project was an example of what can be achieved without any additional construction and minimal use of GHG heavy building materials such as concrete and steel.

Of course, alternatively we could simply run data centers for 20 years and watch them become less efficient over time until the time comes for demolition.

But instead of flattening them and using the concrete and glass as hardcore for roads and turning the steel into cutlery there are proven methodologies for data centers to be modernized that will add decades of sustainable use and greater financial return.

The smart approach is to reuse and upgrade the data centers that already exist.

It is time for owners to think beyond the second decade and remake data centers as part of the sustainable built environment.