We are aware of our impact on the climate and realize that we have two large challenges when it comes to sustainability. The materials we use need to be reused as much as possible, because our resources are limited, and no more are being added. We need to be conscious of this. Another challenge is in the area of energy. We need to be smarter about its use in order to limit CO² emissions and to protect the climate.
Where smart entrepreneurship and sustainability meet
NorthC is frontrunner in sustainability and has a pioneering role when it comes to circular entrepreneurship.
Naturally, all of our data centers are already using 100% green power. But we do more than that. Because included in our civic and social responsibility is also the expectation of us to do something for society. We take this seriously. For example, we commit to heat extraction. Together with the local government and several local businesses, we started a number of promising projects. For example in Aalsmeer. The heat we produce there is not lost but used to heat other buildings. We’re providing heat to a school with a children’s center, a sports facility, and a houseplant exporting business. In exchange for this heat we receive cold air that we use to cool our data rooms. It’s a smart way of collaborating. Because both us and our partners are saving on energy and CO₂ emissions. In Eindhoven we have a similar arrangement with High Tech Campus.
How we utilize our heat to its maximum potential
NorthC Chief Infrastructure Officer Jeroen Volmuller about this unique project
“We are very excited about this heat/cold exchange project. Of course you need to be pro-active to arrange all this, because it does takes something out of all of the participating parties. But it’s absolutely worth it. We can now use our residual heat in a positive way that benefits society. And we receive cold in return. I do believe that such initiatives will be entirely normal in the data center world within a few years.”
From purpose to new purpose
We also take responsibility in the use of materials. We strive for as much circularity in materials and resources as possible. For example, our Eindhoven data center was built according to cradle-to-cradle principles. We used as much recyclable building materials as possible, and we used water saving measures. In addition, the building can be taken apart in its entirety and subsequently all materials can be reused. We’ve also taken a good look at the future function of the building. For example, the ceiling in our data room ais extra high so that the space is also suited for a laboratory for example. One of the rooms is setup as an office and could have the same function in the future. The third room too is entirely adjustable. The closed façade can be easily removed to provide the room with a new purpose. Naturally we are never idle and are always on the lookout for new ways to be more sustainable.
Award for smart ideas
Our data centers are always on. Redundant emergency power supplies take care of any possible disruptions in power from the power network. To guarantee a seamless transition we have to continuously warm up all emergency generators. Traditional systems for this preheating of systems use a lot of energy. That’s why we use our normal residual heat to do this. This saves us up to 310 households of energy. For this idea we received the Datacenter Dynamics Award in 2016.
Solar power to preheat our emergency power supplies
We are also taking measures on a smaller scale. For example, we are upping our use of LED illumination in our buildings. And on the roof of our Aalsmeer data center we have 513 solar panels that produce power at a capacity of 146.205 kWh per year. With a CO₂ reduction of 94.886,40 kg. This is similar to the average annual use (3.500 kWh) of 42 households of energy, and 4700 trees that take CO₂ out of the air and exchange it for oxygen and biomass. We are constantly looking for new large or small measures to become more sustainable. Our efforts have not remained unnoticed, because both in Eindhoven as well in Aalsmeer our data centers have a BREAAM certification.