Originally posted on Data Center POST

Data Center POST recently interviewed Fabiola Bordino, Head of Sustainability, Marketing and Communication at Start Campus, the company responsible for developing the SINES project, which is creating one of the largest 100%, 24/7 sustainable European data center ecosystems in Sines, Portugal. Before Start Campus, Fabiola started her career in sustainability, later moving into the technology and digital business transformation world. Fabiola uses her passion for sustainability to help data center companies enable digital transformation while minimizing the effects on the planet and positively impacting communities. Read on to discover Fabiola’s thoughts on the industry’s future and her plans for the Datacloud Global Congress 2023 event taking place April 25-27, 2023 in Monaco.  

Data Center POST (DCP): The conference will be exploring the top data center investments required for the next 12 months. What are a few of your own predictions of what is required to sustain the ongoing demand required by the industry?

Fabiola Bordino, Head of Sustainability, Start Campus (FB) A: For the data center industry to sustain this ongoing demand, better environmental sustainability practices must be adopted and improved upon. Several strategies can be executed, including improving the Carbon Use Effectiveness (CUE) score by implementing advanced cooling systems, using renewable energy sources, and utilizing carbon sinks. Repurposing existing infrastructure, such as decommissioned power plants or factories, can also reduce costs and environmental impact. Additionally, the circular economy model can be applied by collaborating with nearby industries to share resources and reduce waste.

DCP Q: Sustainability in data center development is important. How are you adapting to ensure your operations meet or exceed the industry’s sustainable best practices?

FB A: Sustainability means standing the test of time. It means people, organizations, and industries perpetually align for the most effective stewardship. Start Campus believes sustainability can be divided into three main segments: the planet, the community, and industry efforts. 

For the planet, Start Campus’s SINES Project is the very first 100% sustainable and 24/7 green energy data center campus. It has a PUE of 1.1 and a Water Usage Effectiveness (WUE) of 0 due to the campus’s multiple renewable energy solutions and its innovative reclaimed ocean water cooling system. For the community, Start Campus has also launched the GAMMA Platform to invest in local communities, fulfilling its mission to empower and build up communities near its home of operations in Sines and neighboring Santiago do Cacem. For the industry, Start Campus has the goal of carbon-neutral operations by 2025, and to be fully carbon-neutral by 2028. One way to do this is by the company ensuring reporting of the company’s GHG Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions, specifically through the company’s supply chain.

DCP Q: Connectivity in data centers has always been a core service enablement (at least since the onset of the interconnection era).  If land, power, connectivity, and water are all equal – what are other top factors to consider when deciding on a location for data center deployments?

FB A: Data center companies need to consider access to renewable energy and minimizing the impact on the local community and environment when selecting sites for expansion and scaling. Renewable energy sources can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of data centers while locating them away from urban areas can reduce their impact on local communities. Industrial areas with existing infrastructure can be repurposed for data centers, creating synergies between data centers and other nearby industries, and a circular economy that benefits both parties. Overall, by considering these factors, data center companies can make informed decisions that benefit both the environment and local communities.

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