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Understanding energy use and sustainability investments at the Sweden 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 Sweden, are key to our sustainability goals.

Carbon negative by 2030

For our datacenters in this region, Microsoft is procuring renewable energy from wind, solar, and hydro resources. In partnership with energy provider Vattenfall, renewable energy consumption will be matched hourly, all day every day. Microsoft has power purchase agreements with bp, Enlight Renewable Energy, European Energy, NTR, Prime Capital, and wpd.

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

Sweden is Microsoft’s first region with backup generators that run on Preem Evolution Diesel Plus, the world’s first Nordic Eco-labelled fuel, containing at least 50 percent renewable raw material and a nearly equivalent reduction in net carbon dioxide emissions compared with standard fossil diesel blends.1

Power usage effectiveness (PUE) measures cloud energy efficiency. The calculation is total power consumption divided by IT power consumption. Lower PUE indicates more energy-efficient datacenters, with a PUE of 1.0 being the best score. When we bring on new datacenters, like in Sweden, it takes some time to load the datacenter to an optimal capacity. Once we increase the IT output, we expect to be at the design PUE of 1.16. For February 2022, the PUE is 1.21.

Water positive by 2030

Our new Microsoft Sweden datacenters use outside air and zero water for cooling throughout the entire year. The new Sweden facility captures rainwater to help offset winter humidification water.

Given the short time the datacenter has been operating, water usage data is limited. However, in December 2021, 0.5 million liters were utilized with a water usage efficiency (WUE) rate of 0.14 L/kWh. Microsoft designed the facility for a water usage efficiency rate of 0.01 L/kWh over the entire year.

The higher WUE in December 2021 is due to winter humidification and construction water usage.

Zero waste by 2030

In 2020, we successfully opened our first Microsoft Circular Center in our North Holland datacenters, which is designed to extend the life cycle of servers through reuse and support a circular economy for the Microsoft Cloud.

Because it takes 5 to 6 years from when a datacenter is operational to generate reusable assets, we are planning a Sweden Circular Center for use in 2027. Microsoft Circular Centers are able to process 12,000 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. We are continuing to research further methods to reduce waste by determining new recycling solutions for used air filters and fiber-optic cables.