Architect: The World’s Largest Sustainable Data Center

Designed by HDR in Norway, the Kolos data center is set to be the largest and most sustainable source of computing power in the world.

By Ashleigh Popera

Norwegian data company Kolos is building the largest data center in the world powered by 100 percent sustainable energy. The massive 6.46 million-square-foot facility, which will serve the global data market, will be completed in many years and stages. The center will run on renewable energy in the forms of wind and hydroelectricity powered by Fjords that surround the facility on three sides. Norway’s cold climate and low humidity levels will also help offset energy demands.

Designed by architecture and engineering firm HDR, the center is inspired by the country’s mountains and glaciers, and is meant to seamlessly blend in with the natural landscape of the Ballangen area of Norway, a region within the Arctic Circle. The facility will create 2,000 to 3,000 new jobs in Ballangen and support another 10,000 to 15,000 in the area.

The Kolos data center is “changing the paradigm in data center infrastructure,” reads the company website, by “moving away from dense high-cost, fossil fuel-driven areas,” and producing up to two gigawatts of renewable energy. Kolos also claims that the energy-efficient center will translate to lower costs for customers.

Co-CEO of Kolos, Harvard Lillebo, told Bloomberg that the facility—which will first hold 70 megawatts of IT equipment—will eventually have the potential for over 1,000 megawatts of computing power, the most in the world. Other companies such as Apple, Google, and Facebook—whose facility comparatively has a 200 megawatt-capacity—have renewable data centers in the Nordic Countries as well, due to the regions cheap renewable energy and low costs and taxes.