The Data Center Next Door: Can Buildings Full of Computers Make Good Neighbors?

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Dan Loosemore: Now let’s get started right away onto our panel, which is the data center next door, can buildings full of computers make good neighbors? So the insatiable appetite for digitalization compounded by the pandemic has accelerated competition within communities for land, land, and power and everything else and attached to low cost, power, and vast water resources, a very finite asset. So let’s get started with this panel to look at how our operators and developers taking a look at what this means to be a good neighbor. And if I could right upfront Jim, to you, what makes a good neighbor simple?

Jim Connaughton: Well, we all know what makes a good neighbor, which is a neighbor who’s friendly, a neighbor who’s clean a neighbor who’s trustworthy and a neighbor who gives back to the community. These are common norms in humanity. In addition to sort of supporting being neighborly, our whole sector does that you know, our presence in the neighborhood is something, you know, we should pay very, very close attention to. We want to be the neighbor, all the kids go to, right? It’s a good place to be rather than a bad place to be.

Dan Loosemore: Hey, Jim, I like that thinking where, where they’re just a good place to be, where you feel comfortable, but are there different requirements for good neighbors in different cities or different locations at different parts of the world that you’re hearing and know about?

Jim Connaughton: You know, it’s interesting. You know, we’re in the context of infrastructure and we know from our own lived experience, right? There’s infrastructure that operates quite harmoniously with, you know, our ecosphere in which we exist in which our communities thrive. And there’s infrastructure that, you know, seems like a jarring scar, right? Visually sound footprint location. And, and, you know, that’s where the clash comes from that, you know, being not neighborly comes from, you know, pushing on, you know, the buttons that are not so harmonious with the way we like to exist in the world. So we see it before our eyes. And so this panel and this conversation is about how do we aim toward harmoniousness and, and get away from, you know, the dissonance, the conflict, the tension in the introduction of this intro infrastructure.

Dan Loosemore: So the question that I have Jim is, can you talk a little bit about what you guys are doing, especially around this panted idea of TRUE the total resource uses effectiveness? What, what really is that, what does it mean? Let me jump forward to it. If I could, and I’m sorry, I’m sorry to do this to everybody feeling the way that I can jump, but could you walk us through, what is this TRUE? What does it really mean? Because it does, it does say a lot about yourselves and what you’re thinking.

Jim Connaughton: Yeah. So Nautilus was formed a number of years ago on a white piece of paper, three asking the question of continual improvement. If you had started with a white piece of paper, how would you reimagine the infrastructure and our, and our goals were simple. How can we support the highest performance computing with the lowest environmental footprint enabling the greatest social gain? The foundation of sustainability, we may recall that from the, you know, this conference on sustainability now 30 years ago, you know, which is you know environmental benefits, social benefit, economic benefit, right? The three-legged stool. And so if you apply that, thinking that design and operational thinking to the data center environment, you can drive some pretty dramatic leaps forward. In our case, we’ve applied a philosophy that we’ve translated into an algorithm that we are advancing and developing and hope to join people around the world.

And thinking about is if T R U E total resource usage effectiveness as a much better way to think about the data center than P U E or even W U E or all the other U Es. So how do we take the environmental footprint against the economics against the unit of compute? How do we, how do we look at that in more of a lifecycle way? And when you do that it drives you to engineering outcomes that the sector is headed toward. And our expression of that is the ultimate expression of that, which is gifting from mechanically chilled systems to the naturally cooled system and shifting from air as your natural coolant, medium to water, which is a much more effective heat transfer, medium. And then water bodies are a much better heat sink than actually urban air environments.

So, you know, our philosophy was to create as close to as possible, a zero impact a data center, and then locate the data center on the side of town where it makes more sense. Move the data center to the industrial side of town instead of the commercial side of town and repurpose them up, put some brownfields and put some people back to work. You know, who’ve sort of seen industrialization wain and can see new clean tech and clean you know, rebuilding a brownfields and converting the greenfields. You see opportunity in that. So that’s how we can begin to check the social box as well. So that’s what we’re about at Nautilus.

Dan Loosemore: Fantastic. We’re going to get to that Greenfield and brownfield in a moment. Travis, I need to walk it over to you because as VP of energy and sustainability at QTS data centers, you have tremendous insight into what’s going on inside the industry and what makes a good neighbor, but tell us a little bit about QTS and what you’re doing around this.

Travis Wright: Thanks really appreciate you having me. So it’s a great topic and one that can be very local or it can be very global. And in our case, it’s kind of both. And we think about things like four cases where we entered into some communities. And there were some big, huge properties that were sitting idle sometimes for 4, 5, 6, 7 years, a bit blighted and, and really a drag on the neighbor. And so in this case Richmond and Irving were two of our facilities that used to be semiconductor plants. Atlanta was a former Sears and Roebuck distribution center. And then Chicago was the Chicago sun-times printing facility. And we, we went into these properties and said, there’s a couple of options here. We could scrape the whole site down and build our standard design.

And that’s, that’s something that some companies feel is the right thing to do. From our standpoint, we looked at it and said, there’s some assets here that can do some good still. And so we decided to take, it was a little bit more difficult approach. There were some some assets on the property, things like substations and water lines and new things coming in that we could actually reuse, but we decided to go ahead and reuse the facilities as well. And in doing this we’ve calculated, we’ve actually reuse 1.3 billion pounds of building material. We saved about 663,000 megawatt hours of electricity from not having to remake all of the steel and the concrete, the roofing material. And then just thinking about the trucks that would have hauled all of that material to a landfill. It was 568,000 gallons of diesel fuel that we didn’t have to burn.

And so those are all great statistics, but the really great thing when we think about the neighborhood is that we took a site that was overgrown with weeds, blighted, a drag on the neighborhood, and we turned it into beautiful gleaming amazing data centers that employ people locally and have incredible tax revenues and, and provide opportunities for expansion of of local businesses as well. Without having a huge drag on things like transportation corridors and things like that. So they really do data centers are a unique brand of facility that can come into a market and really make a big difference without having much of a drag on society.

Dan Loosemore: Travis I think it would be great. We’ll come back to you in a bit. Once we start taking a look at some of the global things you’re doing, but Gary, I want to turn it over to you right now. What makes a good neighbor and do we need to really jump to also the three pillars of Yondr’s that important? What are your thoughts?

Garry Cornell: I think that the starting point for us is to put into context that we’re a growing business and that even bigger growing center. So in terms of sustainability and what makes sustainability sustainable we need to think about how we decouple the impacts from our growth, those negative environmental social impacts. So as we grow our business and as we grow our sector with word decoupling, any of the negative impacts while enhancing the beneficial ones, and they’re all beneficial ones from, from very data centers in different parts of the world. But that’s the starting point I think for any sustainability strategy is distinguishing, what can we do to reduce those negative impacts? What can we do to enhance those positive ones?

The three pillars, this is going to be familiar, I think for anybody that working in the data center industry removing carbon so fast-tracking our transition to net zero carbon and us from the way that we construct the data center and also the way that it’s operated that sustainable design, that the two Jim and Steve and I both had really good examples of you know, sustainable design and building sustainability into the thinking about the way that the new facilities, the design that the developed and constructed and the way that they’re operated.

So they’re more sustainable from inception as well. And then the third point, which is, you know, where are we, what we’re talking about on this panel is that investment in communities and for us, the strap mine is to become a welcomed addition to any community. Now that comes with a lot of different challenges. So depending it depends on what community that you’re looking at. What I think we’re going to talk a little bit about is that you know, Greenfield and the rural community where a lot of data centers have traditionally been built, or whether it’s brownfield and open areas, or it throws up different challenges for different locations.

Dan Loosemore: Absolutely. Perfect. Let’s, let’s take a look at that Greenfield and brownfield, if we could, for a moment, I know this is a step back, but Jim, can you talk about the differences that, that evolve with these two options and Travis, you’re going to jump in this too in a bit, but I know that you’ve been through it through those four great examples, but do you first, Jim, really, what’s better for the data center, building operations, Greenfield and brownfield. Let’s be honest here.

Jim Connaughton: Well, the brownfield environment is actually perfectly suited for redevelopment for data centers because the brownfields, you know, they, they sit on the industrial side of town and as data centers get bigger, they consume more energy. They sort of sit on big pieces of real estate and they’re, you know, from an external perspective, they’re dumb, right? They’re just big, you know, buildings with, you know, a relatively small number of employees working in them. It’s, it’s ideal to, to just take that old brownfield real estate that is currently the home also to, you know, environmental justice communities who wanted the burden of industrialization and to bring some really highly valuable new infrastructure and the associated this activity that, that, that supports. And so you know a great example you know, of, you know, conversion of old industrial facilities into data centers.

So I love that in the case of Nautilus, I’ll just give you two examples. Our first project is the Port of Stockton in a corner of the port. That’s been undeveloped since world war II, and it’s now the jewel of the port. I mean, the site is beautiful. And there we delivered a floating data center. We literally pre-manufactured and delivered it. We pushed out to old rusting barges that were sitting at the shoreline and replaced it with this gleaming, you know, data center yacht, basically on which we’re able to run 7 megawatts of, of data center tying into a local power grid that has a lot of excess capacity from the loss of industrialization. As it turns out, that’s also, we’re fiber tends to run through the brownfield before it hits the urban center. So you actually tend to have the greatest access on the brownfield side of town to the last mile for two miles of fiber before you, before it gets a lot more complicated getting into the commercial and residential areas.

In Silicon valley uniquely all the data center technicians live on the Stockton side of the Silicon Valley, not Silicon Valley, not the tech side of Silicon Valley. So in the case of Nautilus, you know, all of our employees worked in Silicon Valley and commuted an hour to two hours each way, and now they’re performing the same job at the same great wages at home while the data moves freely through, you know, at the speed of light through, through the same fiber, the connects to Silicon valley connects into, into Stockton. So this is the kind of way you can rethink the brownfield. And again, from an environmental justice perspective, it’s, you know, carbon is a broadly global phenomenon, but there’s air pollution that travels along with carbon, and that air pollution tends to concentrate on the brownfield side of town.

And so in addition to being great in terms of reducing the burden from a climate change perspective, we’re also reducing the air pollution that sends people to the hospital or to a premature demise. So, so this has real-world immediate consequences for getting it right. One other note I’ll make our second project is in Maine. That is a fully land-based facility, but we’re going to gravity feed that data center with naturally cold water from a hydropower reservoir. That will be the most efficient data center in the world. That will generate what I call negative tons of carbon because we’ll have a zero-emission inexpensive electricity resource, and we’ll be operating, you know, that site will be 80% more efficient cooling system. So we’ll be extending the zero-emission value of the hydro-power by a net of about 40%. So that’s a nega ton. Now, this sector can achieve that everywhere in the world, by the way. So there’s no magic to that location, that kind of a location. It can be found everywhere if you just reimagine the method by which you want to cool those hotter, faster machines.

Dan Loosemore: I like that “negaton,” same as a megawatt, absolutely brilliant. Travis, I’m gonna, I’m going to throw this back at you. I’m sorry, because you’ve already walked us through some four great, wonderful projects that you guys have done at QTS. But back to this Greenfield and brownfield question, can we talk a little bit about lessons learned? What have you gotten out of this? Because I know you have something known as QTS green and how critical it is to you, but you really want to share your resources. You really want to share and work with people. Talk about this a little bit more of lessons learned in Greenfield versus brownfield.

Travis Wright: Yeah, well, that’s a great question. You know, when we think about our site selection process, there’s, there’s really five big categories for us. The first is that our customers want to be there. Second is our access to power and in has to have some component of being able to be renewable access to fiber. We’ve got some government incentives that get thrown on there, and then we need big, huge pieces of land. And when you think about the brownfield redevelopment, it checks a lot of those boxes, assuming that it checks the big one of our customers want to be there. You know, access to power is usually their fiber kind of questionable data centers use a lot more than others, but that one’s a sort of maybe governments usually want us to come in and do something with this property.

And they’re usually on big, huge pieces of land. So it checks a lot of those boxes right off the bat. And so some of the lessons that we’ve learned out of that are there, you know, it’s, it’s a good segway into a market. It’s a good segway into a neighborhood to be good neighbors. But you do get away from some of the standard designs that make it get more, more efficient to build. So while you’re not putting the walls up anymore, you do now have to figure out how to tap, how to fit your standard equipment inside this building. And so from a space planning standpoint, it’s usually not quite as efficient but from the standpoint of, of the basis cost and, and whether this building can actually work for your needs, it’s been a wild, unbelievable success. These are the four that you see in front of us are four of the most successful data centers in our portfolio. So I can’t, I can’t say anything but good about what we’ve done in all of those.

Jim Connaughton: Can I jump in here a second? Travis is making a really critical point and I want to underline these first criteria, which is where our customers want to be. I’d like to make that a challenge point. I think the, you know, with, with great admiration for all of my colleagues in the sector has painted itself into a landlocked corner. I think the customer, the data center user I think, you know, Travis has exactly right. It’s where they want to be. The part of that should be a challenge. You should be aiming at these much more sustainable outcomes in terms of the geography of where you want to be. And when I see you know, these availability zones emerging, and I see these, you know, the hubs forming and I see the edge deployments unfolding, and what I’m looking at is, is a, is a lot of unsustainable thinking locationally about where to be. I really want to make a challenge point around this, around this idea, you know, it is our, we have to go where our customers want to be, and we need to educate our customers that there’s better places to be than what they’re currently selecting.

Dan Loosemore: Let’s take it to you, Gary. That’s an excellent point from Jim, but Gary let’s take what Jim and Travis have both said, let’s take it, take it even further. Like you like to always say, which is, how do you become that welcome part of the community in a Greenfield or brownfield. And by the way, Europe’s different Europe is very different than the American model. Isn’t that true?

Garry Cornell: Absolutely. Yeah. I think colleagues who I speak to in the US are a little bit surprised by the legislation that surrounds college social value. So in the UK, there’s been legislation on social value for any government-funded projects, and that’s consequently, you know, impacted the way that development is done across the UK in Europe, it’s very similar. But also through the planning rules planning is granted often with conditions, which require a contribution towards community investment. So that’s, you know, and this can be quite considerable in talking millions of, of, of euros of investment that is required to, to allow you to develop a site in any particular area. So I think in some ways the, that the sustainable, the environmental aspects of development is, is one side. But I think in Europe, what we’re learning is there’s another side to it, which is the social side.

Yeah. That one what we’ve learned is to really understand how do you become a welcomed addition to any communities you need to listen to the community need to spend time understanding what the needs of that community are. Then there’s, you know, there’s social value in varies from community to community. The discussion about Greenfield and brownfield have often the brownfield sites in urban areas throws up a lot of opportunities. There’s a lot of opportunities around what you can do to contribute to more urban communities, particularly where they have suffered from you know, industrial losses. And then that transition over from, you know maybe historically manufacturing industry or other types of industries on the decline. It’s a great opportunity for the data center, well, to come in and, and provide something additional to those communities in terms of how do you decide what to invest in and that community, that that’s where we really need to, to have that dialogue with communities before they’re really making the decisions about what to do with it.

So we would develop this sort of system of going through understanding what the needs are and understanding then how do we best meet those needs with our industry, with, with our business type, some of the examples coming out of that we did some work on one of our sites, very diverse, culturally diverse location higher unemployment and then discussion with schools and colleges with employment agencies, there was a strong message coming out that there was a real opportunity to contribute to female stem students women that want to go away to university because of the cultural issues in that community. There were a lot of like opportunities missed where women weren’t able to go go to university because of family ties and family constraints. So by providing some sponsorship, we’re able to allow a female in a stem student to go away to university break some of those constraints that they have, and hopefully work in our industry. And that’s, you know, that’s the sort of enlightened self-interest of this, is that anything we can do to the community, which is helping around stem or education future employment it allows us to grow that pipeline of future recruits, you know, future employees future younger eyes to comment to the industry and what better place for them to come into from there and from the community level delivered and you know, the location around the data center.

Dan Loosemore: Absolutely fantastic. Gary, I really liked this. And I’m going to throw this back to you, Jim, which is how do we do good in the world? I mean, it’s, it’s a tough conversation, but you know how you even said it, you know, how do good neighbors lighten the load for everyone? And they work for everyone and they’re looking at everything and you’re doing that. So go talk about this a little bit. What social programs work and what doesn’t?

Jim Connaughton: Let’s start at the ground level that I want to go up to the global level. So the ground level right now, you know, the dirty little secret of data centers is an addition to they’re competing with everyone else for, for available energy. Okay. So that’s what the main focus has been. And that’s, so these efforts to incrementally improve energy efficiency, good and important. These average to support zero-emission energy procurement has been very good and important. Data centers also plug into the public drinking water or gray water infrastructure and consuming a massive amount of that. Along with chemical retreatment of that data centers use a lot of chemical refrigerants that are the most potent greenhouse gases and ozone-depleting substances in the world. And they’re at risk of continual phase-out. And then data centers also, you know, drop a pretty significant amount of chemically retreated wastewater into the public wastewater system.

Now all of that is utterly unnecessary. Okay. So we’ve demonstrated that at Nautilus. And so, and the beauty is we can all do it and still provide, you know, the exact same high-performance data center service that we’re all proud of providing, but this idea that you can eliminate competition with your community for resources is just massively wonderful. And so in addition, you know, when you cool with actually cold water is as we’re helping to get people to understand you make no noise. And so now there’s no vibration noise, no high pitched noise. There’s just no noise. Our first project is funny, somebody across the river from us came to see the site and said, “Hey, you know, I, I live across the river,” pointed at his house. He said, “When do you become operational?”

And we said, “We’ve been running for eight months.” And he said, “What do you mean? I don’t hear anything.” It’s like, “Exactly.” That’s what was important to him, right? So that’s meeting people where they are with what they want to do. So if we can get the infrastructure as sustainable as possible, right. And repurpose this underutilized infrastructure as we can do, especially in brownfields then you’re bringing added economic value and, and eliminating or lightening the burden locally so that, you know, people love that in their neighbors. Now let’s go large. It’s, it’s essential for us to deliver this much more sustainable infrastructure as rapidly as we all can. You know, we all need to partner on this because the compute itself that we are supporting is what is going to give us the insight for the largest leap forward in sustainability that we’ve, that we’ve ever seen.

And we’re not talking about incrementally forward. We’re talking about an exponential leap forward that will come from AI and machine learning-based processes both in R and D and development, and also smart city smart grids, our transportation, all the smartness we’ve been talking about, which we do not yet have, but it’s that combination of much more powerful and therefore hotter computers much better and, and widely available fiber lines. The software systems are now ready to go, but they have no place to live at scale sitting on, you know, ultra sustainable infrastructure. You put those four pieces together. You know, we are talking about eliminating air pollution. You’re talking about eliminating water pollution. We’re talking about the biggest jump forward in material utilization and in the movement of people and goods around the world. I mean, this is really big. It’s, it’s beyond what we are proud of, of accomplishing over the last 30 years. This digital transformation is the sustainability transformation. We’ve got to get the infrastructure right to support it.

Dan Loosemore: Thank you, Jim. Thank you. I called the arms again, you know, really taking this back to you, Travis, how do we do good in the world? And I’m just going to go right to it. Travis, walk us through these because I just think this shows QTS green and exactly what Jim, and exactly what Gary were talking about. You’ve gotta be doing the right thing in the market right now.

Travis Wright: Yeah, I appreciate it. So Jim’s absolutely right. There is the old school design of data centers where we’re using big water-cooled chillers and cooling towers and drop in a bunch of chemical waste into the waste stream. And it, honestly, it used to be that we had as a data center, this choice to either be energy efficient and use lots of water or be energy inefficient and don’t use any water. And QTS did that are pretty amazing thing. We went in and partnered with Vertiv to develop a new technology in their, in their cooling systems, their, their air based cooling systems that provides us with actually better efficiency and actually spectacular part-load efficiency on a data center as you ramp into it, without using any water. And so the freedom design that QTS is putting out now is one that onsite is not using any water for cooling.

It’s 100% refrigerant-based. And it’s a pumped refrigerant system. It’s got economizing cooling systems in it that take advantage of outside cool air. And so there’s a lot of really great things there that we’re getting unbelievable PUEs on really right out of the gun. When we only have two of our 48 megawatt building actually deployed, we’re still getting designed at it. And then what we do is we said, listen, you can do all that, but if you’re buying your power from a thermal power plant, that offsite, we refer to it as our scope to water consumption is enormous. It’s three to four times what a data center would use. And so if you look at nuclear or coal or, or biomass, or even natural gas plants, they use an amazing, a huge amount of water. So what we do is we take this new freedom design.

We pair it up with offsite, solar, or wind, which is virtually using no water. I mean, there’s a little bit there, but not, not much. And we refer to this as our water freedom design, and it is one that, that that is, I think really very much going down the right path. I love Jim’s concept of challenging our our customers to go where it makes sense from a sustainability standpoint until that happens. This is a package that we can plunk down just about anywhere in the country and do some really good work with, without having to use water resources. Perfect.

So these are, there’s two programs here for some of my favorite ones to talk about. It, this one was born when we were at a verge conference a couple of years ago. And we were, our booth was right next to an organization called American forests. And we started chatting with them about what they do and really got kind of excited about, about what this organization does and goes out and plants, trees. And we said, how can we partner? We’re a data center, you’re an organization that plants trees, how can we, how can we partner together? And so we decided that we wanted to, we wanted to tie our success to doing good in the world. And this was one way that we were going to do that. So we came up with this program that we referred to as grow with. QTS we, we decided that for every hundred kilowatts that any customer signs with us, we’re going to plant one tree per month for the life of their contract.

And then not only that, but we reached back in time and said, every contract that we currently have in place, we are going to support with this same program. It doesn’t cost our customers anything. It’s, it’s really just us trying to be good to our communities and good people in the world. And so today we’re planting tens of thousands of trees every year, mostly in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, where they’ve been devastated by wildfires and, and really feels like we’re doing some good here. It, honestly, we don’t take a whole lot of credit for this. We’re not, we’re not capturing any carbon offsets. We’re just going out and trying to be good humans here. And the funny thing here is I actually brought this to my CEO with an expectation that I was going to get some pushback. You know, there are some costs there.

We need to be mindful of how we move forward and messaging and whatever it took about 10 minutes. And my CEO said, not only do I love that program, but I want you to go do something with clean drinking water resources. And we said, okay, well that was easy. Let’s go do something else. And so we came up with another program where we went out and searched for an organization that could help us here. World Vision is the one that we chose. And so for every a hundred KW, very similar in structure, we’re providing three people with clean drinking water for the life of the contract. And the need is very much in central Africa, Kenya, and Uganda and places where they’re really stressed from a water clean drinking water standpoint. We went a little bit further and we said that for every 12 megawatt or larger deal, we’ll actually go into a community and drill a water well, and give that entire community a water access point for decades.

And so that’s, you know, with, or without that contract ever being in place, they’re continuing to get water resources, game-changer, absolute game-changer for people in these communities who would otherwise spend six, seven hours a day walking to a, a dirty river or a, a sort of a mud hole and collecting some water and bringing it back to their homes. Now suddenly the mothers can be mothers. The kids can go to school. It’s a, it’s a remarkable change in people’s lives to have clean drinking water resources. And so we’re pretty proud of doing this one.

Dan Loosemore: Fantastic. Thank you very much, Travis. And all three of you guys, some of the best examples you can ever give to show how we can become really good neighbors. Let’s continue on with this. We’re going to come back to you, Jim, because we only have about 10 minutes left. So I’d like to have each of you talk about what’s exactly going on when it comes to, how do we become sustainable by design. Jim you’ve talked about this a little bit, but you know, is society there yet? Do we need to change the mentality of folks? What does it truly mean to have the right types of designs? And are we say from, you know, “Hey, we build these systems to be safe and risk-averse and always on, and always able,” and then we’ll turn to you, Travis also for what’s important when people are thinking about design and then final, final thoughts to you, Gary, where I’d like you to really take a look at this whole tidal wave of sustainability consciousness because truly are we ready? Is society ready? But more importantly, do we have the right mindset for it also first to you, Jim?

Jim Connaughton: I want to highlight a few things. This sustainable despite design point is really important. We are visual beings. And in fact, you know, we’re participating right now in a highly visual, you know, video. And so getting the look and feel of any physical structure that crosses the eyeballs and our communities are critically important. You know, I thought, you know, the example of people were used to seeing that great old printing place, you know, the Chicago Sun-Times that was iconic. I think it makes perfect sense to take down what’s there and puts something, replace it with something beautiful. Okay. So however we proceed with data centers, they need to be beautiful. So start with that just architecturally.

We both for our building superstructures, but also for our interior modules, you know, we’ve hired a Bill  McDonough and Associates. Who’s the world’s leading, you know, sustainability architect to help us re-imagine the space. So the data center both externally and internally, and then to combine that, you know form and function need to come together. And then to combine that with you know, just astoundingly, compact and readily deliverable and install double set of systems, such that when you’re in the data center, you realize that you’re dealing with a, you know, a really fine piece of mechanical machinery and network machinery. You know, that’s, that’s really on par with the incredible innovations inside the server box. So that matters. Okay. And then sustainable design also means where do you stay in the ecosystem of the community and the urban environments in which you operate?

So where are you locating? How are you locating smartly, where you can actually add value with your choice? So for example, you know, our second project is co-located with a hydropower plant in a community that shut down a major paper mill and put 10,000 people out of work. We are, we are the anchor tenant on the restoration of that location. By combining with the hydropower plant, literally combining with it, we can combine with desalinization plants to lower the community cost of desalinating their water by providing them our, our, our warm water and, and lowering the cost of diesel tying data center infrastructure with combined heat and power with district heating and cooling. You know, these are all design options, locational design options that make us add to the physical and the resource harmony of what’s necessary from a mission-critical perspective to support our communities.

Inversely. I want to underline a data center should never compete with the community for resources if it doesn’t have to. So, you know, with designs like ours, with the kinds of things that, you know, Gary and Travis were talking about data centers should never compete for a single molecule of drinking water with the community ever again, because there’s no need to a data center should not have to tie into the wastewater treatment system and burden the public wastewater treatment system ever again, because it doesn’t have to a data center doesn’t have to use refrigerants anymore. As they continue to get phased out and are needed for other more critical human purposes, why should the data center be using all of that, that shrinking, shrinking only available resource when it’s more important for other things. So this is where sort of design and competition becomes very important. Again, I want to distinguish between harmonious outcomes and integrated more sustainable outcomes with these conflicting outcomes. Let’s move toward harmoniousness.

Dan Loosemore: Thank you very much, really appreciate that. Travis to you, how do we become sustainable by design? Because that’s actually something you do at QTS?

Travis Wright: Well, we knew. Yeah. And you know, certainly there are some of the more obvious things of making sure your buildings are lead or energy star certified and, you know, building, building smart the way you put your facilities into place. The thing to remember about especially co-location data centers is that 70 to 80% of the energy that is used within the facility is the actual compute power. And so by are the suppliers from our customers when they get more efficient in their computing ability, it makes the data center much more, much more efficient as well. That’s a huge component of being sustainable by that design. You know, the other thing that I, that really stands out to me though in some lessons that we’ve learned in the last two to three years about when we’ve, now that we’ve deployed our, our new freedom design, we’ve realized that the modular approach of being able to install just the equipment and space that you need for your, your first level of customer makes you incredibly efficient.

And so we, we used to build enormous, huge facilities put the entire central plant in place. And you know, you get, you get 50% of your infrastructure in, and you really only fill it up by two or 3% in the beginning. And then thing continues to grow what we were seeing. In like two and three and four. I mean, it was terrible in the beginning. And now with the modular approach, we’re able to install just the equipment that is needed, both on the cooling and on the electrical side, and plunk them into place really very quickly. And it allows this equipment to run right at, at the sweet spot of about 80% loaded all the time we get, we get super efficiencies in the 1.2, 1.25 range from the first customer who goes in and, and quantifying that is enormous to think that you’ve got years of great efficiency versus what we have in the past. I think it’s a, it’s a great thing from a, the comment of being sustainable by the design of that modular approach really makes a big difference to us.

Dan Loosemore: Fantastic. You know, it’s interesting Gary, that both Travis and Jim have the mindset that’s so critical, but I want you to talk about this for a moment because it’s something that’s great about Yondr is how do we become sustainable by design? And you’ve already outlined a lot of this stuff, but I want you to take it to the next step and more please. Gary. You’ve also got the final word here, sir.

Garry Cornell: Yeah. So there are slides showing is it’s sort of the scope of the challenge really when we were talking about particularly where we talk about ESG as a concept. And after we forget that the social part of the ESG and even less sometimes by the governance aspects of it. So I think, you know, historically takes some of our challenges around carbon, around water use energy use. And, and there’s a lot of focus on tackling those sorts of things when we’re looking at ESG. And this panel is around the social, what makes a good neighbor, it’s thinking about the social impact of, of data centers and they send to growth. And as I said before, there are pros and cons and there are advantages. Disadvantages of development site take sense development, and we need to put it into the context of what’s happening in society and or less there are charts sharing is if I go back and just what my career started I admit to my age now, you’d moved that line or the today’s leaders lying to you notice at 60, 65.

So the level of consciousness around sustainability, the level of knowledge and education was a lot lower than it is today. And over the last 20, 25 years, 30 years, is adamant that we’ve seen an increase and we’ve seen today’s leaders of industry or governments local municipalities, the people that are making decisions in the world, the level of consciousness is rising, but it’s not the end. If we look at the population the age of the population going by, what we’ll see is that people in their twenties now have a way higher level of consciousness around sustainability and that’s consciousness in both positive ways in terms of that, the knowledge and education, that understanding of sustainability but also on the negative side, the level of anxiety and the level of concern almost fair in cases, in some cases, anger, you know, we have weekly protests in London around climate change.

We see kids, you know, not, not wanting to go to school because of climate change. So when we think about the future development of, of data centers in this context, we got to really think about how do we not only tackle the technical issues but how do we tackle the social issues and concerns that people have around the impending climate emergency. And we need to be able to not only have the technical aspects but have the evidence to society to say we are the right industry to, to allow to grow in these areas because of the benefits that we bring, those, some of those are going to be technical there’s, some of them are going to be other types of issues. And that was why, you know, looking at the social side, that understanding that communication with communities about what is it that we can bring as a, as an industry, what is it, what benefits can we bring to your community, which might tackle some of this concern in society around you know, where we are with sustainability, with climate change on all those other issues.

Dan Loosemore: Gary, thank you very much. It truly is a consciousness to know. And to all three of you, I’ve got to say, thank you, Jim, Travis and Gary, thank you for joining this panel. I’m sorry to say that we’ve run at a time, but much appreciation to the three of you.

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Chad Romine

Chad Romine has over two decades of experience in technical and strategic business development. As Vice President of Business Development for Nautilus Data Technologies, Mr. Romine brings global connectivity to some of the most prominent global influencers in technology. Mr. Romine has led startups and under-performing companies to successful maturity built largely upon solid partnerships. Proven results in negotiating mutually beneficial strategic alliances and joint ventures. Outside of work, Chad has invested time fundraising for the American Cancer Society. Mr. Romine recently helped secure funding and led marketing for the completion of a new private University.

Ashley Sturm

Ashley Sturm is a marketing and strategy leader with more than 15 years of experience developing strategic marketing initiatives to increase brand affinity, shape the customer experience, and grow market share. As the Vice President of Marketing at Nautilus Data Technologies, Ashley is responsible for all global marketing initiatives; she integrates the corporate strategy, marketing, branding, and customer experience to best serve clients and produce real business results. Before joining Nautilus Data Technologies, she served as the Senior Director of Marketing Brand and Content for NTT Global Data Centers Americas, spearheading marketing efforts to open two out of six data center campuses. Prior to NTT, Ashley led global marketing through the startup of Vertiv’s Global Data Center Solutions business unit, where she developed the unit’s foundational messaging and established global and regional marketing teams. Ashley’s career experience includes extensive work with the US Navy through the Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness as well as broadcast journalism. Ashley earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in converged media from the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism.

Paul Royere

Paul Royere is Vice President of Finance and Administration at Nautilus Data Technologies. For more than twenty years, he has specialized in finance and administration leadership for emerging technology companies, guiding them through high growth commercialization. In addition to senior team roles guiding strategic business operations, Mr. Royere has directed cross-functional teams in implementing business support systems, designing and measuring business plan performance, leading pre/post-merger activities, and delivering requisite corporate, tax and audit compliance.

While at 365 Data Centers, Mr. Royere served as Vice President of Finance leading a multi-discipline restructuring in preparation for the successful sale of seventeen data centers. As Vice President and Corporate Controller at Reliance Globalcom, Royere led the finance and business support teams to and through the conversion from a privately held company to a subsidiary of an international public conglomerate.

Arnold Magcale

Arnold Magcale is founder and Chief Technology Officer of Nautilus Data Technologies. As a recognized leader and respected visionary in the technology industry, he specializes in data center infrastructure, high-availability networks, cloud design, and Software as a Service (SaaS) Technology.

While serving on the management team of Exodus Communications, he launched one of Silicon Valley’s first data centers. Mr. Magcale’s background includes executive positions at Motorola Mobility, where his team deployed the first global Droid devices, and LinkSource Technologies and The Quantum Capital Fund, serving as Chief Technology Officer. He was an early adopter and implementer of Cloud Computing and a member of the team at Danger, Inc., acquired by Microsoft.


Mr. Magcale had a distinguished ten year career in the United States Navy Special Forces. His military and maritime expertise provided the foundation for inventing the world’s first commercial waterborne data center.

Patrick Quirk

Patrick Quirk is a business and technology executive who specializes in operations management, strategic partnerships, and technology leadership in data center, telecommunications, software, and semiconductor markets. Prior to joining Nautilus, he spent the past year working with small businesses and non-profits on survival and growth strategies in addition to PE advisory roles for critical infrastructure acquisitions. Quirk was the President of Avocent Corp, a subsidiary of Vertiv, the Vice President and General Manager for the IT Systems business, and the VP/GM of Converged Systems at Emerson Network Power, providing data center management infrastructure for data center IT, power, and thermal management products. He has held numerous global leadership roles in startups and large multinational companies including LSI and Motorola in the networking and semiconductor markets.

Rob Pfleging

Most recently, Rob was the Senior Vice President of Global Solutions at Vertiv Co, formerly Emerson Network Power. Vertiv Co is an international company that designs, develops and maintains critical infrastructures that run vital applications in data centers, communication networks and commercial and industrial facilities. Rob was responsible for the global solutions line of business at ​​Vertiv, which serves the Americas, Europe and Asia. Prior to Vertiv, Rob was the Vice President of Expansion and Innovation, Datacenter Engineering at CenturyLink, where he was responsible for 55 datacenters across North America, Europe and Asia. Before working for CenturyLink, Rob was the Executive Director of Computer/Data Center Operations at Mercy, where he led datacenter engineering and operations, desktop field services, call center services, and asset management and logistics for more than 40 hospitals. Before fulfilling this mission at Mercy, Rob held various engineering management and sales positions at Schneider Electric. Rob Pfleging additionally served for 6 years in the United States Marine Corps.

James Connaughton

James Connaughton is a globally distinguished energy, environment, technology expert, as both corporate leader and White House policymaker. Mr. Connaughton is the CEO of Nautilus Data Technologies, a high-performance, ultra-efficient, and sustainable data center infrastructure company powered by its proprietary water-cooling system. Before joining Nautilus Data Technologies, he served as Executive Vice President of C3.ai, a leading enterprise AI software provider for accelerating digital transformation.

From 2009-2013, Mr. Connaughton was Executive Vice President and a member of the Management Committee of Exelon and Constellation Energy, two of America’s cleanest, competitive suppliers of electricity, natural gas, and energy services. In 2001, Mr. Connaughton was unanimously confirmed by the US Senate to serve as Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. He served as President George W. Bush’s senior advisor on energy, environment, and natural resources, and as Director of the White House Office of Environmental Policy. During his eight-year service, Mr. Connaughton worked closely with the President, the Cabinet, and the Congress to develop and implement energy, environment, natural resource, and climate change policies. An avid ocean conservationist, Mr. Connaughton helped establish four of the largest and most ecologically diverse marine resource conservation areas in the world.

Mr. Connaughton is a member of the Advisory Board of the ClearPath Foundation and serves as an Advisor to X (Google’s Moonshot Factory) and Shine Technologies, a medical and commercial isotope company. He is also a member of the Board of Directors at the Resources for the Future and a member of the Advisory Boards at Yale’s Center on Environmental Law and Policy and Columbia’s Global Center on Energy Policy.