Award-Winning Site Selection
Award-Winning Site Selection

The AEP economic development team ranks among Site Selection Magazine’s Top Utilities again in 2021. Learn more


Building a data center is considered a mission-critical endeavor. There are several factors that go into successfully executing such a project.

Here are some factors one must consider when building a data center.

  1. Site Location

This may be the most important decision when building a data center. Experts have identified six site selection criteria for any data center project, which include availability, cost and redundancy of electric power, low/moderate risk of adverse weather events or natural disasters, high-quality construction at a reasonable cost, telecommunications infrastructure, cooling technology/equipment and quality of life.

Data centers are estimated to consume 3-4 percent of the world’s electricity. Therefore, having a location with quality electrical service is essential. A viable site must have power redundancy, excellent power quality and scalable power.

Other factors such as access to cooling water or adjourning land uses can be negotiable. It is important to look at the pros and cons of a location and decide what makes the most sense for your data center.

  1. Retrofit vs. Purpose-Built

Despite the fact that retrofitting an old building for your new data center saves money, there are several reasons experts recommend purpose-built data centers (PBDC). PBDC are better built for extreme weather conditions, allow for a more customer-centric focus and have fewer access points making them more secure.

A PBDC also has multiple levels of redundancy. Therefore it can easily handle the new electrical and cooling demands of modern IT infrastructure. This will allow for fewer service interruptions and if they do occur, they will be easier to alleviate.

  1. Local Government and Utility Company Support

Partnerships with key business and government groups will increase efficiencies, reduce costs and streamline approvals, a necessity for any new data center.

In addition, having strong utility service is essential to a data center. Trends suggest that data centers require as much as 200W to 300W per square foot. In order to build a data center it is crucial to know the available transmission infrastructure and whether the utility company is willing to upgrade when necessary.

For example, AEP provides comprehensive and complimentary economic and business development services for data centers including researching data center sites and market demographics, making introductions to local economic development experts, providing infrastructure details, advising of tax credit and incentive opportunities, offering turnkey engineering, construction, procurement and maintenance and even assisting with site visits.

Looking to build or site a new data center? Let us know how we can help.

  • Data Centers
  • Site Selection