January 2024 - Data Center | Sustainability | Green IT

Establishment of a Sustainable Green Data Center Platform

Jörgen Venot from Germany’s DATA CASTLE shares insights on how his company is building a robust and sustainable ecosystem, with every step aligned with the goal of creating a green data center.

Establishment of a Sustainable Green Data Center Platform-web

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DATA CASTLE is a new green data center platform founded by Dr. Christopher Stief, Co-Founder and CEO, and the investment firm Angelo Gordon (TPG), with the vision to plan, build, and operate extremely sustainable data centers with a strong focus on ESG (which stands for “environmental, social, and governance”). In order to achieve this, the founders have built a team that is a perfect mix of industry calibers and highly motivated people who are there to make a difference.

As a seasoned sales and marketing executive with a track record across Europe and the Nordics, I have joined Dr. Christopher Stief as CSO (Chief Sales Officer), and provide advice on the go-to-market strategy. In this regard, DATA CASTLE is addressing the hyperscalers, cloud players, and large enterprise customers, including DAX or Fortune 500 companies with operations in Germany. 

©Das Kraftbild

Of course, AI is also undoubtedly becoming a business requirement. In addition, the company is therefore open to partner up with large public IT organizations.

Dr. Christopher Stief

Co-Founder and CEO

An important aspect of the strategy consists in building partnerships with large IT companies in order to offer the necessary services and support (the ecosystem) that might be expected by large enterprises or even large public customers, in terms of IT infrastructure management and services.

DATA CASTLE is also partnering up with the main telco operators – including DE-CIX, the primary Internet Exchange in Germany, and also the main carriers – in order to offer the right connectivity services inbound, outbound, and between the data centers. 

To cite just one example: a customer can choose to split his or her IT load between two locations for back-up strategy purposes. 

All in all, the approach is about building a robust ecosystem, both for sustainability purposes and in terms of partnerships.

Crafting a sustainable expert team

For DATA CASTLE, the core of sustainability has begun with the team set up. This entails a mix of industry calibers: people with a proven track record within the data center industry, on the engineering and construction side, on the operation side, on the business development side, and on the customer relationship aspect, combined with an expertise on the ESG and sustainability aspect. The team is being assembled and developed with major care and consciousness.

Overall, the vision of building a green, sustainable data center platform goes much further. The DATA CASTLE strategy ranges from complete sustainability assumptions to a detailed ESG approach.

From our perspective, a key advantage is that the company is still very new (founded in 2022) and has no legacy issues. This allows the team to design itself in a completely fresh and optimized manner. On the other hand, DATA CASTLE is very well anchored for reliable construction and operation with calibers like Pascal Ubrig as Head of Construction or Dirk Pohl as Chief Operating Officer. DATA CASTLE will be able to offer a 24-7 service in both data center locations, Berlin and Frankfurt.

When DATA CASTLE was founded as a company, from Day 1, the ESG and sustainability focus was central in the company values, and also key when the team started to work on selecting the locations for the first data center projects of DATA CASTLE, in Berlin and in Frankfurt.

©3D-Visualisation | Render Vision (Datacenter Berlin)

©3D-Visualisation | Render Vision (Datacenter Frankfurt)

Sustainable business partners

Sustainability is the backbone of the company, with this being the initial focal point which has been dealt with much earlier than the planning or construction phase. By carefully choosing the locations for its data centers, the DATA CASTLE team is making sure that the ecosystem and direct environment of the future data center will match the goals in terms of renewable energy or excess heat recovery. We also ensure that our direct business partners are similarly ESG and sustainability minded.

In developing our data centers, we are working at a very early stage to find a suitable local or regional match for the waste heat coming from the operation of such large IT infrastructures. Finding a real added value for the waste heat generated by the data centers is what we acknowledge as a valuable step towards more sustainable digitalization. At our BER1 and FRA1 data center sites, we have already worked out the schemes for an efficient heat recovery, working with local district heating networks and neighboring urban development projects.

Partner alignment for green data center DNA

Again, from a construction perspective, we don’t want to start looking at reducing carbon emissions only when operating our data centers. For us, following a precise site selection, the green data center DNA continues with the design and construction phase.

One idea takes center stage here: sustainable construction. The first priority is to reduce energy requirements and develop supply chain strategies that reduce carbon emissions over the entire life cycle (Life Cycle Assessment).

Sustainable construction does not only mean using innovative and recyclable building materials (so called “cradle to cradle”), such as recyclable concrete, but also avoiding high transport costs by carefully opting for regional components, building materials, and construction companies.

When selecting our planners and contractors, we ensure that our green data center DNA is aligned with our partners.         

The sites of the DATA CASTLE data centers will be operated with 100% green electricity or electricity from renewable energies from the local or regional power suppliers. This will help to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the long term and achieve CO₂ neutrality. We would also like to look independently into renewable energy generation. For instance, photovoltaic systems are planned for high-yield façades and roof areas.

Many areas of the new buildings will be greened, which will make the operation of surrounding PV (photo-voltaic) systems more efficient, as the ambient temperature heats up less than with other building constructions.

Our data centers will be equipped with a green roof and a green façade. This has a positive effect on the microclimate, as the façade is shaded and the plants also evaporate water. It therefore acts as a heat shield in summer and heat insulation in winter. In addition, the green façades are watered with stored rainwater, which means that fresh drinking water is not wasted unnecessarily.

This also provides protection against UV rays, hail, strong temperature fluctuations, pollutants, and dirt, as well as increased sound insulation thanks to good absorption by the vegetation. The greened areas can also provide a safe habitat for insects and does not harm pollination. Finally, green façades allow for a much better integration and acceptation within the local urban environment.

Organized energy management is a must in order to measure energy performance and strive for sustainable energy savings with the greatest possible efficiency of the overall operation. DATA CASTLE is planning a comprehensive energy monitoring scheme with the associated transparent and compliant reporting. A monitoring infrastructure for technical components of all trades will be realized with deep granularity.

DATA CASTLE is targeting a planned calculated PUE of 1.2. for all sites.

DATA CASTLE Data center sites currently under development:

  • BERLIN (Spandau), 25MW IT load, Ready for service 2026
  • FRANKFURT (Schwalbach), 18MW IT load, Ready for service 2026

Certifications planned for all upcoming DATA CASTLE data centers:

 - ISO IEC 27001

 - ISO EN50600, VK3

 - TIER III (Uptime Institute)

 - LEED Platinum

Organization for Operations

  • Security team on site 24/7
  • Operations Team on site 24/7


Jörgen Venot is a seasoned international executive with a proven track record of building large enterprise and hyperscale data center agreements, strategic partnerships, and joint-venture projects. He was with Etix Everywhere (later Vantage) in the start-up and scale-up phase developing projects in Sweden, Iceland, Belgium, and Germany. Following five successful years with the German DCG Data Center Group, he recently joined DATA CASTLE as CSO. Jörgen is a graduate from the Harvard Business School Online Sustainability Strategy Program.

Please note: The opinions expressed in Industry Insights published by dotmagazine are the author’s or interview partner’s own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the publisher, eco – Association of the Internet Industry.