5 things you didn´t know about constructing a data center in Finland

Much has been said about Finland as an attractive location for data centers, and one may claim that there is nothing new under the sun. I believe, however, that different perspectives bring additional value, so let’s take a look at this topic from general contractor’s point of view.

1. Finland is a cool country. Literally

How cool is that cool? According to the statistics by Finnish Meteorological Institute, average annual temperature in Helsinki is 5,8° C. For data centers it means less energy spent for cooling, which is a big share of operational costs and possibility to sell excess heat to district heating during cold Finnish winters (and autumns, and springs). From construction perspective, cooling solutions require special equipment adapted for data center’s needs. Installation should be also considerately thought through because even direction of wind and sunshine affects final outcome.

2. Sustainability and digitalization

Environmental element of sustainability deals with physical world. Being in a cloud is certainly an environmental friendly activity, but when it comes to bricks and stones, sustainability becomes a matter of high importance. Nordic countries in general and Finland in particular are known to be front-runners in this field. Quality of the construction process and ready building is most often ensured by environmental certification systems like BREEAM or LEED. From client’s perspective, investment in sustainability pays back in form of lower operational costs, positive company image and significant increase of data center’s liquidity as a real estate asset.
Digitalization is quite new phenomenon for traditional construction industry. However already now VDC (Virtual Design & Construction) provides great advantage and costs savings during the construction process by using modelling, augmented reality and various business metrics.

3. Ease of doing business in Finland

Speaking of the cross-border investments, it is not pure existence of business oriented environment but an actual accessibility to the information, which plays the important role for the international investor. Governmentally supported agency Invest in Finland provides comprehensive consulting services to businesses coming to the country.
Finland has been highly ranked in numerous reports for e.g. stability (1 of 178 by Fund for Peace), safety (1 of 136 by World Economic Forum), environmental performance (1 of 180 by Yale University), strongest digital market (by European commission) and in more than 60 other reputable rankings. Among others I would like to mention high level of English speaking skills (by Education First), which is vital for a complex international construction project like data center.

4. Have you heard of sisu by the way?

Well, “The Times” has, so you better have too. Can’t help but quote:” Sisu – A Finnish word that means bravery, resilience, stoicism and hardiness. For obvious reasons, sisu is going to be one of the must-have qualities this year. So, so hot right now”. Finns get the work done, and this is exactly the situation, when actions speak louder than words.

5. Dream TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More

Construction of a data center brings together various actors with different backgrounds, making the project process multi-sided and thus quite complicated. Implementation of the project in the foreign country increases overall risk of potential uncertainty. Probably the best approach to the process would be to accumulate interests and capabilities of all the parties in partnering agreement. Success of alliance cooperation in large-scale construction projects has been proving its efficiency in Finland for a long time. Individual success is ensured by pursuing common targets and achieved by coming to the win-win solutions. General contractor in this scheme takes position of a leader of the project, who brings together and facilitates cooperation between the participants. Rewarding result of such construction business model will be a turn-key data center project, which has been tailor-designed and built according to the client’s needs.
Daresay, that Finland provides legion of opportunities to succeed with data center project for those, who believe in technology and innovations, look into the future and, at the same time, appreciate power and energy of the nature. May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.

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