A Dutch company is looking to harness the excess heat generated by computer servers and use it to warm homes and buildings.
There is a slow-but-steady trend towards green data centres – and with good reason. A Greenpeace report from 2014 estimated that around two percent of global carbon emissions originate from IT-related services. According to a 2013 report from Stanford University, carbon emissions from the IT and tech sector are influenced by three factors: computing efficiency of data centre equipment; the amount of power used in the building that houses the servers; and whether/how much of the power supplied to a data centre comes from renewable sources. Massive servers (which power everything from search engines to websites) generate a lot of heat when running, meaning large cooling systems need to run simultaneously to prevent the servers from overheating. Dutch company Nerdalize wants to harness this excess heat and use it to provide warmth to buildings.
The company, which was founded in 2013, aims to lease high-performance servers (which look like small radiators) to private households. The computing capacity of these servers is then 'sold' to businesses, with the company claiming that computing costs using their 'eRadiators' is 55 percent lower than standard rates. The team then pays for the electricity used to run the server and any excess heat created helps to keep the home warm, meaning that, ideally, residents don't need to switch on their actual radiator in order to keep warm.
A trial rollout of the radiators is currently being conducted in select homes in the Netherlands, via a partnership with Eneco, one of the country's largest energy suppliers. Find out more via Nerdalize's website.