Telia’s data centre in Helsinki puts the heat generated by its hardware into use. Since summer 2022, Helsinki’s energy company Helen has routed the excess heat into the city’s district heating network and, among other things, heated the city’s homes with it. The recovery of the heat generated contributes to carbon-neutral heat production and Telia’s climate goals.
Telia Helsinki Data Center is one of the largest open commercial data centres in the Nordic countries. The servers at the data centre generate a lot of heat, especially because of the increased use of data. Since summer 2022, the heat generated at the data centre has been routed together with Helen to the city’s district heating network, where it has supported the heating of homes.
The cooperation harnesses the heat, which otherwise would be waste heat, as part of carbon-neutral district heating while supporting both Telia’s climate goals and the City of Helsinki, seeking carbon neutrality, in finding sustainable solutions.
The location and design of the data centre enable heat recovery
Data centres are a good source of heat because they produce heat evenly throughout the year. Data centre servers produce heat, which can be harnessed as part of urban district heating. With a heat pump, a data centre can provide at least 1.3 times as much heat as what it consumes as electricity.
“Our cooperation with Helen supports our own climate work as well as the goals of Helsinki, which aims to phase out fossil fuels and coal,” says Telia Finland Oyj’s Sustainability, Ethics & Compliance and Risk Officer Eija Pitkänen. She says that heat recovery can heat up to 20,000 homes in the future.
The recovery of waste heat has already been taken into account in the design of the data centre: from the very beginning, space, electrical and pipeline connection reservations for heat recovery have been included in the building plans. In addition, its location is exceptional, and accessibility has been a key value for Telia in the implementation of the data centre. The central location of the data centre has made it possible to deliver heat to the district heating network.
Cooperation supports the achievement of climate goals and carbon-neutral energy production
Helsinki’s own energy company Helen was chosen as the partner for the implementation, as both companies are on the way to carbon neutrality and want to lead the way in their respective fields. Telia and Helen are part of the City of Helsinki’s Climate Partners network, which aims to strengthen cooperation in climate change mitigation and support the City of Helsinki’s carbon neutrality target.
The existing district heating network serves as a good platform for new carbon-neutral solutions.
Lowering the electricity tax on heat pumps to a lower tax category from July 2022 has also supported the progress of the project and acted as a financial incentive.
Helen is pleased with the cooperation with Telia. “It is great to plan a new, cleaner energy future together with Telia. Data centres are an excellent source of heat – sources that we want and are actively looking for more. Reusing heat is an excellent way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions,” says Helen SVP, Sales and Customer Service Anu-Elina Hintsa. Helen aims to be carbon neutral by 2030.
From Telia’s point of view, the project is a great way to both promote our own climate goals and participate with partners in finding more sustainable climate solutions.
“By 2030, we aim for zero emissions throughout our value chain, from subcontractors to customers,” Pitkänen says.