At a November 29 annual data center industry forum, CH2M HILL’s IDC Architects will introduce a new strategic business planning tool for data center owners believed to be the first of its kind in the industry.

The new IDC Architects Data Center Site Analysis Model has been created to help data center owners more wisely choose locations for new data center developments. The model analyzes prospective sites using a range of objective criteria to minimize the influence of subjective factors that can misdirect a site selection process. The model also forecasts an owner’s costs and long-term economic returns on investment associated with specific prospective sites.

The presentation will be made at the 3rd Annual Information Management Network Forum on Financing, Investing & Real Estate Development for Data Centers held November 29-30 at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara in Santa Clara, CA.

The new IDC Architects tool will be demonstrated during a session chaired by CH2M HILL data center experts titled “Growing Your Data Center Footprint: What and Where Are the Choices? How Do We Decide?” The session will begin November 29 at 12:10 Pacific Standard Time at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara, 5101 Great America Parkway.

IDC Architects will make the presentation on a panel including Craig Harrison, Founder of Niobrara Data Center Energy Park in Colorado; Stanley Singh, executive director of Excite Corporation; and Mats Andersson, marketing director/CMO of Lefdal Mine Data Center in Norway.

IDC Architects’ experience with data center developments over the years has revealed that the data center site selection process is often influenced by subjective factors such as personal preference, enticing economic development incentives or overly optimistic economic projections.

The new IDC Architects Data Center Site Analysis Model mitigates such pitfalls by offering more comprehensive and objective means of evaluating data center sites. To improve the accuracy of forecasting site favorability factors, the tool integrates data in a variety of critical analytical categories including energy, taxes and climate.

This multi-variable approach measures the impact of site location on a data center’s Net Present Value cost and environmental performance. It calculates the impact site choices have on a project’s schedule, ability to be sustainable, opportunities to incorporate energy production on site, the potential for site-specific public and private incentives and other key decision-making drivers. 

The model also evaluates such data center sustainability site factors as carbon usage (CUE), water usage (WUE), and power usage (PUE). The model is designed to perform in multi-country site comparison scenarios.

The presenters will relate how this model has performed for two projects represented in this event’s panel, the Niobrara Data Center Energy Park and Lefdal Mine Data Center.

Both projects involve highly innovative renewable energy approaches for data center development; Niobrara because of its involvement of solar, wind and Microgrid technologies and Lefdal because of its unique placement of data center servers in a former mine naturally cooled by underground air and water from a nearby fjord.