Creating cars that keep pollution low, and creating them in facilities that don't emit tons of carbon, is only a piece of the puzzle. If an automaker wants to reduce its footprint as much as possible, it needs to think about other ways in which it consumes power, which is why VW's latest addition to its building collection is pretty important.
Volkswagen Group announced on Wednesday that it has opened a completely carbon-neutral data center in Norway. Built in collaboration with Green Mountain and operating entirely on hydropower, VW estimates that this data center will save more than 5,800 tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere each and every year. Considering the average car emits about five tons of the stuff each year, it's the equivalent of taking more than 1,000 cars off the road.
When it comes to building a facility like this, it's all about location, location, location. Norway offers better weather conditions for cooling the facility, which makes the transition to carbon-neutral power easier. That's why VW Group already has a similar data center in Iceland, which is believed to save another 6,200 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
So what is this data center for? It's not for housing VW Group's deep repository of dank memes; rather, the center in Norway will house servers that will take on all sorts of intensive tasks, including crash test simulations and virtual wind tunnel tests, the complexity of which can be tasking on computers, requiring a whole bunch of energy. Not taking that energy from dirty sources sounds like a pretty smart idea.
"For us, economic factors and sustainability in the company are important aspects," said Mario Müller, head of IT services at Volkswagen Group, in a statement. "The new data center in Norway satisfies in both respects. The operation is cost-effective and completely climate neutral."