Sustainable Digital Infrastructure Alliance (SDIA)
Thematic Session

The SDIA (Sustainable Digital Infrastructure Alliance) hosted a track at SP2020 on opportunity of creating net-positive digital infrastructure. As one of the key topics on the European agenda, it combined the digitalisation, climate protection, and data souveranity of the new presidency.

As the 4th industrial revolution – digitalization – is accelerating, we face a once in a decade opportunity. For the first time we can decouple economic growth from resource consumption. The digital economy can be the first one that creates economic value without consuming exponentially more minerals, more energy, and other planetary resources. In this track SDIA explored the various opportunities from heating districts and greenhouses with data centers, to using digital infrastructure as energy-flexibility systems and how the emerging European computing infrastructure will look like. SDIA demonstrated that the digital economy creates a viable & needed opportunity for sustainable digital infrastructure.

Chair of all the SDIA workshops: Mohan Gandhi, Head of Research & Policy at SDIA

Detailed agendas and video recordings of the SDIA track workshops at SP2020:

Day 1 | Tuesday 27th October | 10.00 - 12.30 & 14.00 - 15.30

Opening Ceremony

  • 11.00: “Welcome and Roadmap Teaser Max Schulze, Executive Chairman at Sustainable Digital Infrastructure e.V.; and Mohan Gandhi, Head of Research at Sustainable Digital Infrastructure e.V. (PDF) The video recording of the SP2020 opening ceremony can be watched by clicking here.

SDIA Finance Workshop

This session saw PHINEO and NIBC delivering updates on the sustainable investment environment, key trends, and how to scale and accelerate climate impact investing.

  • 14.00: “What will it take to win the racetozero? How Impact Investing and the built environment can contribute” Young-jin Choi, Head of Impact Investing Services at PHINEO gAG
  • 14.45: “Digital Infrastructure – Market Update and Debt Financing Themes” Pierre Alexandre Hughes-Daly, Associate at NIBC bank (PDF)

Day 2 | Wednesday 28th October | 09.00 - 13.00 & 14.45 - 17.30

SDIA Technology Progressors Workshop

This session saw Bearing Point deliver the promise of smart green infrastructure, before tomorrow, the Greenweb Foundation and WestfalenWind detail software solutions that deliver on that very promise. 
  • 09.00: “Why do we need a sustainable digitalization – smart green infrastructure” Anna Lyubina,  Sustainability Consultant at BearingPoint GmbH (PDF)
  • 09.45: “Bringing the Climate Impact of Electricity Back to Reality” Trevor Hinkle, Head of electricityMap at Tomorrow (PDF)
  • 10.30: “Sustainability in the Software Layer” Chris Adams, Co-Director at The Green Web Foundation (PDF)
  • 11.15: “Gamechanger Virtualization – an innovation thriller on the data center playing field” Gunnar Schomaker, Vice Managing Director and Innovation Manager at Software Innovation Campus Paderborn

SDIA Heat Recovery Workshop

This session focused on the data centers’ ability to capture and reuse what was previously considered waste heat, thereby significantly reducing the carbon and energy footprint of the digital economy. Windcloud provided a glimpse into innovative use cases of captured heat, before cloud and heat deep dive into the technology required. Vattenfall rounded off the talk from the heat demand side, and why demand for heat is only increasing.
  • 14.45: “Integrated energy the future of HPC” Karl Rabe,  MD and Sales Director at Colocation.Green (PDF)
  • 15.30: “Sustainable and secure data centers with heat recovery” Dr. Jens Struckmeier,  CTO and Founder at Cloud&Heat Technologies (PDF)
  • 16.15: “Heat Recovery in Practice – The Journey to a Carbon Neutral Future” Dr Birger Ober,  CEO at Sustainable Digital Infrastructure e.V. (PDF)

Day 3 | Thursday 29th October | 13.00 - 16.00

SDIA Initiatives Workshop

This session focused on the initiatives undertaken by the SDIA. Head of Research Mohan Gandhi launched the SDIA’s “Roadmap to a Sustainable Digital Infrastructure by 2030”, before SDIA Chairman Max Schulze explained how the SDIA decouples economic growth from resource and energy consumption – the promise of the digital industrial revolution. The Open Compute Project explained how to measure data center carbon footprint, and innovative methods of reducing that footprint that can happen NOW! The SDIA’s COO rounded off the session with a view on the many different items that the SDIA is working on to deliver sustainability across the sector.

  • 13.00: “Roadmap to Sustainable Digital Infrstructure by 2030” Mohan Gandhi, Sustainable Digital Infrastructure e.V. (PDF)
  • 13.45: “A Sustainable Digital Economy: Decoupling Growth from Energy & Resource Consumption” Max Schulze, Executive Chairman at Sustainable Digital Infrastructure e.V. (PDF)
  • 14.30: “Call to action: Measuring Data Centre Carbon footprints and how to decarbonise through innovations in the open collaborative commons” John Laban, Open Source Technology Reset Catalyst at Open Compute Project Foundation (PDF)
  • 15.15: “Sustainability in Digital Infrastructure” Lasse Schneppenheim, Head of Operations at Sustainable Digital Infrastructure e.V. (PDF)

Day 4 | Friday 30th October | 10.00 - 12.30

SDIA Hardware Workshop

This session focused on the design philosophy of hardware and equipment inside data centers. London Southbank University presented circular design principles and introduced project Cedaci – an industry communication tool. ITRenew explained how they’re revolutionizing hardware deployment, and Operational Intelligence provided an overview of the total environmental impact of data centers – a first step in understanding the impact of the industry. 

  • 10.00: “Curving the Line – Circularity in the Data Centre” Deborah Andrews, Associate Professor of Design at London South Bank University / CEDaCI Project; and Beth Whitehead, Associate Sustainability Engineer at Operational Intelligence (PDF)
  • 10.45: “Clouds are not Linear: Unlock the full power of sustainable IT infrastructure with circular economic models” Ali Fenn, President at ITRenew
  • 11.30: “Total Data center environmental Impact” Sophia Flucker, Data Centre Expert at Operational Intelligence (PDF)
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