Digitalisation is progressing faster and more profoundly than ever before. In an interconnected 21st century, data centres form the basis of digitalisation: They are the storage locations of most data available online and essentially the home of “the cloud”. In light of growing demand for data centres the question arises: How do we make this industry more sustainable?
KfW IPEX-Bank’s financing approach to data centres is closely connected to the understanding that our contribution to a sustainable future of digitalisation goes hand in hand with promoting increasingly progressive initiatives in the field of data centre construction and operation.
Besides our focus on structuring a project from a financing point of view, key elements of our evaluation of a project revolve around proposed power usage efficiency (PUE) parameters, data centre location, tenant selection and the energy source mix. Our thorough case-by-case consideration of proprietary sustainability measures within a project is also becoming more important – be it through bespoke structures catering to very specific customer needs or through our competence in bundling both commercial financing expertise and KfW promotional programmes in the field of green IT, process and equipment efficiency.
We are particularly glad to see that lately, numerous projects with innovative ideas for sustainable approaches are underway: from data centres providing heat for neighbouring swimming halls, apartments and office buildings and offering roof space for solar panels or for growing algae all the way to data centres being used as buffers for intermittent renewable energy during peak vs. low phases. With various possibilities at hand to establish as much economic circularity as possible, we like to consider ourselves as a go-to-financier for sustainable data centre projects.
Beyond all this, however, sustainability also requires holistic collaboration among different stakeholders rather than simply between data centre operators and their clients. Therefore, through our activities we hope to also increase transparency and understanding of the particularities of the sector and thereby boost the implementation of higher standards on a larger industrial scale, all the while supporting our customers through beyond-financing multiplier effects. A start on that complementary goal front has been made through our published work so far, with a deep dive to follow at our next KfW IPEX-Bank Finspresso talk.