When constructing data centers today, performance is not the only metric to be considered.
As the world’s insatiable appetite for data continues to grow, the pressure is on for developers to build bigger, better and faster than ever before. And with burgeoning concerns over environmental impact, delivering sustainable developments without compromising on reliability is no easy feat, nor can it be achieved alone.
With decades of experience on data centers and over 120 design and construction projects completed since 2015, Black & Veatch understands speed and sustainability are crucial when it comes to data center design and downtime is simply not an option.
Currently ranking #9 in ENR’s ‘Top 100 Design-Build Firms’, the company’s team of global experts have the comprehensive experience ‒ and capabilities ‒ to deliver mission critical solutions that not only maximize uptime through high levels of redundancy and resilience, but are also safe, secure and sustainable.
Whether it is designing a hyperscale data center, rebuilding ageing equipment, conducting multi-site assessments, or orchestrating a water re-use project, Black & Veatch acts as a single point of contact throughout the entirety of projects, from planning through construction and operational consulting.
Operating on a global scale, Black & Veatch started out predominantly in the US, and has continued to expand into other regions. Before entering the data center arena, the company had vast experience in power, water and telecommunication sectors and understands that although approvals and permits may vary across different geographies, the need for speed certainly does not.
“International and local developers are investing heavily into new data centers in selected regions or countries. And from that perspective, data center development tends to happen in clusters and time-to-market is always constrained,” says Sachin Deole, senior director – Sales at Black & Veatch in India.
“Project schedules are incredibly important for data centers, and we can provide developers with a one-stop solution. To develop data centers, land, water, power and their related permitting and approvals are critical. Deep understanding of those markets helps us deliver the requirements and simplify the process.”
With so much synergy involved in data center developments today, orchestrating a project becomes a veritable cross-industry venn diagram, and can quickly become overwhelming for the uninitiated. This is where Black & Veatch’s experience beyond the data center market becomes highly advantageous. Developers understand that without the involvement of local utilities necessary to bring a facility to life, a project simply would not make it off the ground.
With the ability to leverage connections and expertise across the power, water and telecommunications industries, particularly within the US and India, Black & Veatch has capabilities to bring each piece of the puzzle together to ensure every project runs smoothly.
“In addition to our experience in the power, water and telecommunications sectors, we also provide developers with regulatory support,” says Deole. “We have over 750 professionals in India, many of whom are associated with our global projects and have extensive experience in different sectors.”
This is again where cross-industry synergy places Black & Veatch at a unique advantage. In terms of skills needed to deliver a data center project, its professionals have built up domain knowledge and experience working on power generation, transmission lines and environmental solutions.
“Black & Veatch fosters skills and expertise spanning the entire spectrum of solutions for infrastructure. Our organizational structure also allows us to grow systematically and quickly. In the last few months, we have grown significantly by adding resources in areas with high demand and growth potential,” says Deole.
Safety remains the prime consideration in all designs developed by Black & Veatch. Whether it is a consulting assignment or an entire design-build project, the company has a goal of zero injuries and provides its professionals with the time, equipment and training necessary to achieve it.
“Our integrity, ethics and compliance are incredibly important to us,” says Deole.
“We believe in a culture of teamwork, and it is this collaborative approach that ensures every design developed by Black & Veatch is safe and reliable. The way we conduct business globally is what makes us who we are.”
Being a 100 percent employee-owned company, Deole believes, is an asset that serves to enhance the experience of both its clients and its employee-owners.
“Our people are Black & Veatch,” he says. “Since all employees are owners, they give their full effort, teamwork and support our clients to the best possible extent.”
Black & Veatch’s mission is to build a world of difference through innovation in sustainable infrastructure. Many new data centers are coming online, with higher power densities than ever before and full reliance on grid power. Back-up solutions in the form of diesel gensets or coal-fired power stations are not sustainable and as an industry, Black & Veatch is working to provide alternative sustainable solutions.
“Developers have started using 20 percent to 30 percent of their power through renewable sources, which is a step in the right direction,” says Deole. “And the Indian government is currently focusing on decarbonization via the use of green hydrogen and other newer technologies.”
But of course, when it comes to achieving sustainable infrastructure, commercial viability will always set the pace of progress.
“Right now, new technologies like green hydrogen need a lot of capital. Current interest from developers is seen through the adoption of pilot projects. Industry leaders are approaching us to conduct feasibility studies to understand the opportunities and challenges of such emerging technologies. While it may take time for new technologies to mature, data center developers seem to be progressive in implementing such sustainable solutions.”
When the race to secure market share can only be won via the rapid build-out of reliable, mission-critical infrastructure, developers need a partner that can encompass engineering, procurement, consulting and construction into a turnkey, one stop solution.
With a 100-year legacy of innovation, driven by collaboration rather than competition, Black & Veatch is ideally positioned to deliver on its promises. Combined with a culture catalyzed by its people and a genuine drive to secure a better, more sustainable, future for all, Black & Veatch is not just providing solutions for infrastructure today, but for tomorrow too.
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