New datacentre doubles as a green urban space in the heart of Oslo

Skygard sets itself apart in the data centre market. Drawing on the competencies of international engineering consultancy COWI, the Norwegian company is creating highly secure, energy-efficient, and environmentally friendly operations in the centre of Oslo.

For Skygard it's essential to create a data centre that will both address national security, data safety, and sustainability, as well as strengthen Norway's AI position. The Skygard data centre will be one of the most energy-efficient data centres in Norway and will use renewable energy sources. The excess heat from the plant will be utilised and integrated into the district heating network and the circular energy design of Skygard could serve as a pilot project for future data centres in Norway.

The future of data centre design

Skygard contracted engineering consultancy COWI to deliver a complete solution due to the company's broad experience within the design of data centres, sustainable energy, engineering solutions, and architecture. The Norwegian company A-lab was responsible for the architectural  design of the centre.

Located centrally in Hovinbyen in Oslo, Skygard will take an innovative approach by transforming an industrial brownfield area into a green public space for the citizens of the Norwegian capital. The choice of location means the site itself will have minimal impact on existing biodiversity and contribute to urban greening. The location, however, also represents series of challenges since the site is placed between a city street and a light rail track.

"In a time where data centres are facing increased scrutiny due to energy consumption and land use Skygard is a visionary project that points the way to the future way of creating data centres. At COWI, we are excited to be an integral part of Skygard's project because it allows us to apply our capacities to fulfil the wishes and needs of our client," says Tommy Lundegaard, business development director in COWI.

Moving from an old data centre to a modern one like Skygard can reduce power requirements by between 50 and 70 percent. Utilising surplus heat for district heating will also help energy efficiency and bring down the environmental impact of data centres.

National security, data safety, and environmental responsibility

Skygard is owned by the Norwegian companies Telenor, Hafslund, HitecVision, and Analysys Mason Nordic, who have decided to invest 2.4 billion Norwegian kroner in the project. The Skygard data centre will provide colocation facilities for multiple tenants, and it will be operational in the first half of 2025.

"With the investment in Skygard and other data centres, we will provide Norway with a muchneeded data centre capacity that prioritises national security, data safety, and sustainability. The current geopolitical situation has made the need for secure solutions more important, but there is also an urgent need to improve the environmental footprint of data centres. With Skygard, we address all these issues and set a new standard for the future," says Elise Lindeberg, CEO, Skygard.

In addition to the first centre, Skygard has ambitions to build two more data centres in the capital region. Once fully developed, the three data centres are planned to have a combined capacity of 40MW.

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