CBRE and ARK Sustainability Initiative
Data Centre Sustainability Project Of The Year
Entry Description
This project, driven by the sustainability benefits that would have a positive impact on the environment, was to remove all red diesel from site and replace it with hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) which is a biofuel made by the hydrogenation of vegetable oil. This HVO offers a fossil-free alternative to mineral diesel.

The rebate changes to red diesel announced by the UK Government, meant that an entire industry needs to rethink the fuel strategy for standby generators associated with their Data Centres. Working closely with their supplier base, CBRE Data Centre Solutions (DCS) developed a strategy for HVO replacement fuel to give a greener more environmental alternative.

As part of their design, build, operate sustainability strategy, ARK Data Centres were actively seeking an alternative fuel source with increased environmental credentials. They selected HVO replacement fuel following rigorous testing (this is key as need to demonstrate the approach, giving customers confidence) on the premise that it is both 30% cleaner than red diesel and is produced from 100% sustainable sources.

ARK Data Centres Limited initiated the HVO fuel replacement project and working in partnership with CBRE DCS successfully replaced all red diesel with HVO which in turn, has the additional benefits of better stability in long term storage and greater efficiency at low temperatures.

Additional challenges were ensuring that each client’s change order notification process was adhered to, any stand downs would have had an immediate impact on the programme and completion date. This had to be managed extremely closely and ensure that all submissions were 100% accurate, mitigating the risk they would be declined. As part of the project risk mitigation for ARK, CBRE developed fallback plans for each tank so that if there was a danger, we would exceed the approved take down duration, we could re-instate the required level of redundancy.

Where generators couldn’t be taken offline without compromising redundancy, CBRE provided temporary generators and tanks while mitigating the temporary installation’s impact on site operations. From the start of the project most of the tasks were on the critical path due to the aggressive timescales required. CBRE developed and managed this plan closely mitigating any deviations. The success was down to the work completed at the tender and planning stage to ensure we had an accurate and deliverable plan. Furthermore, CBRE worked closely with the site teams to identify opportunities to align the generator/tank take downs with planned maintenance thus preventing further client notifications for ARK to complete their routine maintenance. This provided another layer of complexity to the project.

In total CBRE replaced 1.2m litres of fuel across 3 sites. Using CBRE’s global supply chain, we were able to drive down prices below the going market rate and having them fixed for the duration of the project. Completing this project against the challenging timescales has allowed ARK to move over to HVO before any legislation changes came into effect in the UK in April 2022 along with delivering against their sustainability and environmental business objectives supporting the UK drive to Net Zero.
This project demonstrated the partnership approach of CBRE, our can-do attitude, the unique skill set of our team and our ability to fully understand our client’s business to make us an 'easy to use contractor'.