Northern Virginia: Data center design standards approved by Leesburg Town Council in Loudoun

Aug 16, 2023 | Posted by Abdul-Rahman Oladimeji

Leesburg's Loudoun County Council unanimously approved data center design criteria. Unlike Ashburn, Virginia's Leesburg has no data centers; however, this may change. Three rezoning petitions may allow data center development in town. One is in the Oaklawn neighborhood, one close to the former Westpark Golf Course, and one at the eastern edge of the Village at Leesburg.

In addition to expected requirements to provide "appropriate" parking capacity and space for queuing on entry, the approved regulations include "encouragement" to make sustainable building decisions, such as avoiding sensitive land, setting up alternative power sources, using free cooling when possible, and reducing any impacts to forest areas.

Data center aesthetics are more particular. The data centers should "approximate a multi-story office building," with regular building components like step-backs, projections, recesses, or a 30% shift in patterns, color, or materials. If a building is 60 feet tall, an architectural feature should appear every 240 feet. Data center campuses with several structures are "encouraged to provide variety in building size, massing, siting, and appearance by transitioning, from smaller or lower buildings along street frontages to larger and taller structures on the interior of the site." Additionally, all mechanical and electrical equipment needs to be hidden from view by opaque walls or fences, and rooftop equipment needs to be protected similarly by a parapet.