The value of Land.

Land – how does this add value to the business and help us deliver on our vision of sustainable data centers?

Over the past few months DigiPlex has invested in additional land, and now owns or has options on over 370,000m2 in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. This has planning for data center use with a potential capacity of over 300MW.  But how does this add value to the business and help us deliver on our vision of sustainable data centers? The land that we own adds value in a number of ways, but perhaps most importantly – as an asset in itself; as a resource to create speed to market for us and our customers; and as the focus of engagement with communities for sustainability.

The only true asset

Land is intrinsically valuable. The areas that we have invested in are undeveloped but are surrounded by developments. The Treklyngen Industrial Park near Oslo has great connectivity both to the City and the airport. It is suitable for high-performance computing data centers serving national and international needs. The site at Høje-Taastrup, near Copenhagen is part of that region’s highly-regarded  ‘Finger Development Plan’ designed to marry leading industrial and residential developments with preservation of natural environments and the campus site Upplands-Väsby near Stockholm in Sweden offers fantastic connectivity both to the Stockholm metro area, the airport and the grid, where we have a significant new power supply.

All the sites are already well connected to the infrastructure we need and can be quickly developed to provide high value services for customers. They are in prime positions to meet the demands of the hyperscale, colocation, HPC and enterprise segments – close to power, data communications connectivity, skilled engineers and suppliers and to populations of digital consumers.  The proximity to both supply and demand allows us to quickly start generating a return on our real-estate investments.

Land is also a finite asset, and in many areas is extremely expensive and hard to acquire. The leading European data center markets of Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam, Paris and Dublin (DFLAP) are finding it increasingly hard to provide suitable land, with sufficient renewable power, at commercially viable prices. We’ve already seen increasing interest in the Nordic region and we expect this trend to continue and intensify driven by the overall low TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) delivered by the low-cost renewable power available in the region. Securing land now ensures we are prepared to capitalize on this continued growth.

Delivering return – fast

Which brings us to the second value-driving attribute of our land bank – speed to market. The explosion in digitalization and demand for online services seen over the past will increase exponentially for the foreseeable future. Business, consumers and governments are all undergoing rapid digital transformations which demand increasing data center capacity in all markets. The companies who support these shifts and transformations are also growing and transforming themselves. Across the globe, they are in a constant race to be first to market and to deploy more capacity. Those who can support this growth and retain flexibility around these transformations and still rapidly design, build, deliver and operate high quality, secure, scalable and resilient data center facilities will win a significant portion of this business. With the DigiPlex Build to Suit concept we can rapidly deliver facilities that meet the exact specifications required by our customers. We demonstrated this with our most recent builds at the Hobøl and Fetsund campus sites where we delivered brand new data centers from proposal to ready for service in under 12 months, during the global pandemic. Having a bank of suitable land, pre-approved for data center development, a suite of robust flexible designs and a delivery approach that has garnered the support of local government, business and citizens, we can move fast to deliver on our customers’ needs.

Our place in the world

To many, data centers are an unknown, unheard of and unseen thing – The internet ‘Just Is, Right?’ The reality is that while the internet fuels the developed world, to make it work, requires global infrastructure on a colossal scale and that infrastructure consumes huge quantities of resources to grow and operate and particularly energy from the power grid.

As a part of this infrastructure, it is easy to only see the benefits that our business brings and to overlook the potential drawbacks that can come if you don’t design, develop and operate with the environment, sustainability and the community in mind. At DigiPlex, we never forget that the land we own and facilities that we build and operate sit within established communities. Whether our neighbours are industrial, business or residential, we are always conscious of our impact on the local and wider environment. True, as a Nordic based company it is easier to procure power from sustainable sources, but, that is only one part of the picture, design elements like low energy, compressor free cooling, low energy lighting, rain water harvesting, waste heat reuse, low impact and low rise energy efficient building forms, are coupled with initiatives like sustainable and responsible sourcing and community enhancement and engagement programmes.

At Høje-Taastrup we will collect the rain that falls onto the campus and store it in a biologically balanced retention pond that will provide all of the water for our adiabatic cooling systems for all but the driest years. In addition, we will export our waste heat into a district heating system that will provide heating and hot water for local businesses and dwellings in an environmentally friendly way.

At both Treklyngen and Høje-Taastrup we will also invest to help improve local infrastructure. This includes not only upgrading the roads around our campus, but also building a lake, and a storm water-basin to improve the local ecology and help reduce flood risks from heavy rain or snowmelt. The landscaping and architectural design of our facilities also helps them blend into existing landscapes. Natural habitats that encourage native wildlife to quickly re-populate areas disturbed by building works are created as part of our designs. Where we can, we like to involve local schools or other institutions to suggest, design of gardens and parklands around our sites.

But our community involvement goes further than ensuring that the natural environment is as healthy as possible. Data centers are the infrastructure of the digital age, and as such, represent an opportunity for jobs and skills development for local people. We aim to foster interest and help individuals and businesses to understand the opportunities that come from having DigiPlex as a neighbour and member of the community.

So, whether its contracts with local businesses and suppliers, field trips for architecture students, events and demonstrations for engineers, or simply ‘show and tell’ sessions at local schools and colleges, we welcome the opportunity to show off what we build, how we build and why we go the extra mile.

The value of land to us at DigiPlex is huge. Not only is it an asset in the strictly financial sense of the word, but it enables us to play the roles we want to play in the global digital landscape, the sector and the communities in which we operate. With responsibility, safety and sustainability at the core, we seek to tread lightly on the land we own, stewarding it well to add value to all of its stakeholders. If you are interested in finding out more about any of our development projects, please do get in touch.