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Understanding energy use and sustainability investments at the Finland datacenters

In each building at every campus and datacenter, sustainability is a key priority for Microsoft across all phases of a project— from site selection to design and construction to operations and decommissioning.  Microsoft datacenters, including our facilities in Finland, are key to our sustainability goals.

Carbon negative by 2030

For our datacenters in the Nordic region, Microsoft is procuring renewable energy via power purchase agreements with companies such as NTR.

Power usage effectiveness (PUE) measures cloud energy efficiency. The calculation is total power consumption divided by IT power consumption. A lower PUE score indicates more energy-efficient datacenters, with a PUE of 1.0 being the best score. Our Finland datacenters are under construction and not in operation. They will have a design average PUE of 1.12.

Globally, Microsoft datacenters use fossil fuel generators for backup power and account for less than 1 percent of our overall emissions. In specific regions, Microsoft is piloting running backup generators with renewable blend, cleaner-burning fuels, and is also piloting the replacement of datacenter generators with long-duration batteries.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is the world’s largest green building certification program. LEED provides the framework for healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving green buildings with lower carbon emissions. LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement and leadership. New Microsoft datacenters being built are designed to earn LEED Gold certification.

Microsoft operations in Finland comply with applicable air quality requirements.

Water positive by 2030

Water usage effectiveness (WUE) is another key metric relating to the efficient and sustainable operations of our datacenters and is a crucial aspect as we work towards our commitment to be water positive by 2030. WUE is calculated by dividing the number of liters of water used for humidification and cooling by the total annual amount of power (measured in kWh) needed to operate our datacenter IT equipment.

The Finland datacenters will be cooled using outside air and zero water all year. The datacenters will use water for winter humidification and will use rainwater harvest when available.

The new datacenter facilities in Finland are designed for an average WUE of 0.01 L/kWh.

Waste heat

The heat produced in the Finnish datacenters will be transferred to pertinent district heating systems serving Finland’s second largest city Espoo and neighboring Kauniainen, and the municipality of Kirkkonummi.

Zero waste by 2030

Microsoft has a goal to achieve 90 percent diversion of datacenter operational waste by 2030. To reach this goal, we’re working closely with our waste haulers to optimize waste diversion programs across our global datacenter portfolio. We have achieved Zero Waste certifications for our San Antonio, Texas; Quincy, Washington; Boydton, Virginia; and Dublin, Ireland datacenter locations.

In 2020, we opened our first Microsoft Circular Center in our North Holland datacenters, which is designed to extend the life cycle of servers through reuse and to support a circular economy for the Microsoft Cloud. Because it takes five to six years from when a datacenter is operational to generate reusable assets, we are planning to use the closest available Circular Center once the new datacenters are in use and servers are ready to be decommissioned. Microsoft Circular Centers are able to process 3,000 servers per month for reuse.

Globally, Microsoft datacenters reuse 78 percent of our end-of-life assets and components; the remaining 22 percent of materials are recycled. Additionally, Microsoft is conducting research and development to improve waste diversion by determining new recycling solutions for used air filters and fiber optic cables.