Protecting Data Centers

18 March 2024
Protecting Data Centers

At Joule Group, we provide specialist fire safety consultancy services for critical infrastructure projects. With over 250 years of collective fire safety engineering experience, our specialist team have contributed their expertise to the successful delivery of some of the most high-profile data center projects globally.

The Importance of Fire Safety In Data Centers

Data centers are at the very core of our interconnected world, and their seamless operation is essential to many components of modern life internet data exchange such as communications, internet browsing, remote working, and online shopping. An increasing proportion of data centers also serve as part of the critical infrastructure networks for governments, banking, and physical infrastructure operations such as airports. Fire is a serious hazard with implications for the proper functioning of the affected networks and, therefore, is a major systemic concern for the industry.

While, thankfully, there have been very few major fire incidents in the sector, the data center industry is not complacent when it comes to the implementation of the highest levels of fire safety design. A fire at a European data center in 2021 disrupted millions of websites (1), caused over €100 million in estimated damages, and led to ongoing legal claims (2). The presence of energy-intensive electrical equipment, complex cooling systems, uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems, energy storage devices, and 24/7 operation make safety a critical issue for the smooth operation of data centers. And this is where Joule Group is exceptionally well positioned to support operators, architects and D&B construction teams.

Joule Group’s Expertise

Joule Group’s specialist team of fire safety engineers has extensive experience of providing its expertise and knowledge to safeguard the delivery of data center projects globally, supporting and protecting critical national infrastructure.

Through working alongside a multi-disciplinary team throughout the design, build and operation stages of data center projects, Joule Group puts fire safety at the very heart of each project. We deliver fire safety advice to our clients in a highly customised manner to ensure each project’s delivery on time, on budget, and with a safe design.

Our talented team of engineers take pride in being on the front foot from the very outset of a project, setting up workshops with clients and always remaining focused on maintaining high levels of communication throughout the project to ensure that our clients’ needs are fully met.

The demand for additional data center capacity continues to outstrip supply and this is expected to continue alongside, and be conflated further by, the rapid growth of artificial intelligence. Research from CBRE has found that there is currently a worldwide shortage of data center capacity, and in most markets vacancy rates (unused capacity in colocation facilities - data centers owned and/or operated by a third party) are at record lows (3).

The data center sector is continuously evolving and remains at the forefront of innovation. For example, the response to the drive towards sustainability is leading the sector to implement novel cooling systems and on-site renewable power (4), presenting new challenges in fire safety that Joule Group is leading the charge in seeking to address. Recent reports from Aggreko (5) and Savills UK (6) have also raised concerns regarding insufficient capacity of data centers coming online to meet the accelerated demand in Europe. It is noteworthy that these reports may also have underestimated the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) demands which have been rising at an unpredictably accelerated rate throughout 2023.

Most recently, Joule Group provided its specialist fire safety consultancy services to the newly launched an AI-ready Data Center in Abu Dhabi, AUH6 by Khazna, an award-winning data center project in Abu Dhabi which pushes the boundaries of innovation and sustainability in the sector. Joule Group are also involved on multiple global projects for AI and ML upgrades for existing sites and new designs and are staying at the forefront of data center development.

Joule Group’s expert fire safety engineers de-risk data center projects on all levels by building in resilience and security to projects, giving peace of mind to asset owners and tenants. Joule Group’s experienced team of engineers continue to be well-placed to deliver services to the most cutting-edge data center projects worldwide.


  1. Reuters (2021) ‘Millions of websites offline after fire at French cloud services firm’. Available at:
  2. Data Center Dynamics (2022) ‘Strasbourg data center fire: One year on, what do we know?’. Available at:
  3. CBRE (2023) ‘Global Data Centre Trends 2023’. Available at:
  4. Financial Times (2024) ‘The environmental cost of AI’. Available at:
  5. Aggreko (2022) ‘Uptime on the Line? Securing the construction pipeline with the insights of 700 European data centres’. Available at:
  6. Savills (2022) ‘Savills: Pipeline of data centres needs to more than double by 2025 to meet demand for storage in Europe’. Available at:

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