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VIRTUS Data Centres to build AI-ready campus in Buckinghamshire
Tue, 20th Feb 2024

VIRTUS Data Centres, an award-winning pure-play data centre owner-operator, has unveiled plans to construct a state-of-the-art data centre campus in Saunderton, Buckinghamshire. The intended development, announced on 19 February 2024, is set to be built on a recently acquired 50-acre freehold plot, bolstering the existing data centre hub located near Slough, west of London. The new campus concludes an intensified focus towards Artificial Intelligence (AI), moving towards delivering AI-ready, high-capacity data infrastructure on a 'mega-scale'.

According to its blueprints, the development encompasses four data centres that are conservatively estimated to deliver an IT capacity of around 75MW. This is in response to a surging demand for solid data infrastructure ignited by the expansion of cloud computing and AI applications. With planning approvals in hand and site preparations underway, construction is expected to commence in the last quarter of 2024. Completion and operational commencement are scheduled for the second quarter of 2026. VIRTUS has a National Grid contract for 120MVA for its Saunderton campus.

The ambitious new venture underscores VIRTUS' commitment to the United Kingdom market. It mirrors its expansion across Europe, particularly in Berlin, with two new campus locations at Marienpark and Wustermark. Notably, these initiatives aim to address the ever-changing needs of customers.

"The acquisition of this new 50 acre campus is a significant step in VIRTUS' strategic growth plans," commented Neil Cresswell. "It demonstrates our ongoing commitment to provide advanced data centre facilities in the UK, while also expanding our operations in Europe. Our focus is to support the evolving requirements of our customers, wherever they need them, and the burgeoning demand for AI-ready data infrastructure. We are dedicated to being at the forefront of supporting businesses on their digital transformation journeys. At the same time, we are ensuring that our data centres are built to the highest sustainability standards, aligning with our target to be carbon neutral by 2030."

Environmental, societal and governance (ESG) initiatives are a key concern for VIRTUS, with this project aiming to set a significant benchmark. The new campus will use 100% renewable energy, aligning with the rest of the VIRTUS portfolio. The company has also committed to a zero-waste-to-landfill principle during the operation of the facility. They are aiming for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold accreditation for sustainability. Interesting sustainability features include using rainwater harvesting and exploring waste heat used for adjacent farming. There will be an annual carbon offset payment made to the local authority for ten years, assisting local environment improvement projects.

The forthcoming Saunderton campus is also poised to contribute socially and economically. It will create expert employment opportunities, provide investment in the community and enhance local infrastructure. The development is expected to offer beneficial training opportunities to local residents.