Successful data center event at Västerbotten at Grand Hôtel

Published: 11 February 2020

The Datacenter Innovation Region project invited to a day about Industry development and innovation in the Swedish data center industry in conjunction with Västerbotten at the Grand Hôtel.

The day's main theme was sustainability and offered good examples, trends and day-to-day insights on how the data center industry is developing globally and nationally. Participants also received information about the work on research, development and innovation conducted at Luleå University of Technology.

One of the speakers who was especially appreciated was Node Pole's CCO Christoffer Svanberg, who talked about their new eco-label, the world's first Fossil Free Data label. The labeling enables companies to transparently and clearly report that data is stored sustainably. The reason why it is important, according to Christoffer Svanberg, is because if the Internet was a country, it would be the sixth largest electricity user on earth. And with a threefold increase in global internet traffic only from 2017 to 2020, it is becoming increasingly important that future data management and storage is done with fossil-free energy. In order to receive the label, companies must meet a number of criteria, including using 100% renewable energy.

Another lecture that many considered very interesting was held by the environmental company Ecogain and their CEO Anders Enetjärn and adviser Cajsa Björkén. They work with land use and development projects and work to find solutions that create both business benefit and sustainable use of land, natural capital and biodiversity. A vision for the data center industry was, according to Cajsa, that in the future there will be no dead roofs but all data center roofs will be green to compensate for the large land area that data storage buildings occupy and give back and recreate lost ecosystems and contribute to increased biodiversity.

Anders Enetjärn says: -It was fun to see that our lecture engaged. There was a good discussion and several good ideas that were formulated in the workshop which was held later in the day.

Another speaker who many looked forward listening to was Tor Björn Minde from the RISE SICS ICE test lab who provided a trend report. Tor Björn predicts that by 2030, the growth of the number of mega data centers in the world will grow by over 100 data centers per year, the Nordic region will store half of all European cloud data that is not time-critical and liquid cooling will be used everywhere. He further stated that all data centers will be self-learning and optimize themselves and that all material in data centers will be part of the circular economy.

Additional speakers were Isabelle Kremlin from the Swedish Datacenter Industry and Patrik Öhlund, chair of iMason's sustainability committee, an organization that promotes collaboration, develops common guidelines, standards and metrics for sustainable design and operation. In his mission, Patrik is working to inspire, encourage and develop resources to help the digital infrastructure sector reduce its environmental impact.

Isabelle and Patrik also held a workshop in the afternoon. The workshop consisted of a half-hour group discussion followed by feedback and addressed what the Swedish data center industry can do to meet the UN's global sustainability goals and how we can spread best practices to the global industry. The group discussions were very much appreciated and it became difficult to interrupt the engaged participants. Some things that were discussed were recycling of excess heat from data centers, standards for creating a net surplus on biodiversity, a maturity scale for sustainability, swan-labeled apps and implementing best practices in the EU Code of Conduct.

The participants came from all over Sweden and consisted of, among other things, business developers, establishment players, innovation promoters and incubators. Annika Svensson was moderator and contributed to the relaxed and nice atmosphere during the day.

Jan-Olov Johansson, Luleå University of Technology says: - We appreciate the opportunity to gather industry representatives in this pleasant context. This is the second year in a row that we are organizing the event and it is great that it is so well attended and that we get so much positive feedback.