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Kirkkonummi data centre

Project

The Kolabacken town plan and the alteration of the Riistametsä town plan (Kirkkonummi)

Project developer

Sweco Environment Oy and Sweco Architects Oy

Commission

town plan draft (Sweco Environment), reference plan (Sweco Architects)

Year of implementation

2020

Client

EKE-Rakennus Oy

Scope

approximately 122 ha

Permitted building volume

approximately 370,000 m² (floor area)

Affordable and clean energy
Decent work and economic growth
Climate Action

A nationally significant urbanisation project furthers the establishment of a data centre in Kirkkonummi

Sweco has drafted a new town plan and reference plan for building a major data centre in Kirkkonummi. The waste heat of the data centre is to be directed to the production of responsible district heating. One fifth of the area was planned for recreational activities.

The energy company Fortum proposed the idea of building a data centre to the municipality of Kirkkonummi. A suitable land area was found in the area of Kolabacken, owned by EKE-Rakennus Oy, in Sundsberg, Kirkkonummi. EKE asked Sweco to consult them in urban development planning and draft a reference plan for the project.

‘EKE is well-known for systematically developing large land areas, and we wanted to ensure sufficient resources and comprehensive know-how in the planning of Kolabacken,’ says Tea Ekengren-Saurén, Chairperson of the Board of EKE-Rakennus. ‘Sweco realised the project in a professional manner. They kept to the schedule and created well-reasoned solutions.’

Even though the planned area covers approximately 122 hectares of land and the permitted building volume was 387,000 square metres, the plan draft was completed in only six months. ‘Our shared vision was that this is not just a planning project, but a nationally significant measure in order to reduce our carbon footprint,’ Ekengren-Saurén says.

Sweco has a framework agreement with Kirkkonummi, meaning that cooperation with the municipality’s planning authorities was already familiar. ‘Kirkkonummi wants to promote nationally significant projects, and cooperation with the authorities has been exemplary,’ states Land Use Planning Architect Sanukka Lehtiö from Sweco. ‘We wanted to contribute to the environment together.’

The data centre will reduce carbon emissions significantly in the metropolitan area

The urbanisation project has been exceptionally well accepted at the draft stage. The data centre will put Kirkkonummi on the map and create up to 100–300 new jobs in the municipality. The project is also significant nationally.

‘This data centre investment is worth up to one billion euros, and the production of carbon-neutral electricity requires considerable additional investments as well,’ says Ekengren-Saurén.

The municipality of Kirkkonummi insists that the new data centre operator must use zero-emission energy. In fact, the plan recommends the use of solar panels in the area. Fortum has also committed to closing its coal-fired Suomenoja power plant by 2025, meaning that the waste heat of the data centre will act as a replacement energy source.

‘The data centre of about 100 MW would produce district heating for around 80,000 households, which would reduce the CO2 emissions of Espoo, Kirkkonummi and Kauniainen by about 300,000 tonnes annually,’ Ekengren-Saurén explains.

Land use planning provides a responsible building plot

Kolabacken is an unusually ideal location for a data centre. The previously undeveloped area has an existing district heating and electrical network as well as municipal infrastructure.

‘The logistic connections and mass balance in the noise impact area close to Länsiväylä and Ring III are in order,’ states Lehtiö. ’In fact, the plan helps us create a responsible building plot for the data centre.’

The nature in the area is mainly bare forest land. All areas with significant natural values were left out of the plan or planned for recreational use. ‘New pedestrian and bicycle ways and public transport stops will be built in the area, which will provide great conditions for spending time in nature, admiring brooks and polypores,’ Lehtiö says. One fifth of the area has been planned for recreational use. In addition, game bridges have been taken into account in the plan, among other things.

The first plan draft will be revised based on the received feedback in August and September 2020. The goal is to have the plan proposal at the approval stage in February 2021.

We wanted to ensure sufficient resources and comprehensive know-how in the planning. Sweco realised the project in a professional manner.’
– Tea Ekengren-Saurén, EKE-Rakennus Oy

‘Our shared vision was that this is not just a planning project, but a nationally significant measure in order to reduce our carbon footprint.’
– Tea Ekengren-Saurén, EKE-Rakennus Oy

‘This data centre investment is worth up to one billion euros, and the production of carbon-neutral electricity requires considerable additional investments as well.’
– Tea Ekengren-Saurén, EKE-Rakennus Oy