With concerns about emissions and reliance on other countries for energy supply, many European countries are turning to existing technology to heat homes.
The continent is already home to numerous data centers run by some of the biggest tech companies, which consume huge amounts of energy to keep computers warm. servers cool.
The enormous amount of heat generated as a byproduct of storing our growing database is typically dissipated using air conditioning units or cooling towers, meaning that heat is wasted. However, an increasing number of data centers are now using this excess heat to heat homes and buildings.
Data centers for heating
In Denmark, Meta has been recovering excess heat from its Odense data center since 2020 and hopes to heat the equivalent of 11,000 homes next year.
Microsoft, Apple and Amazon have begun planning similar actions, while Alphabet has committed to exploring related opportunities.
Ten Dutch data centers are already connected to district heating systems that dissipate excess heat to nearby houses and buildings, and 15 are under construction.
There are numerous benefits to using data centers to heat homes. It reduces the demand for fossil fuels, which are often used to heat homes in Europe. Then there is the potential to reduce carbon dioxide emissions as data centers are often powered by renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power.
In France and Denmark, national and local governments are reportedly introducing tax incentives for smarter use of excess heat, while some building permits require additional heat to be taken back.
Data centers are used to heat homes as well as greenhouses, allowing farmers to grow crops year-round. According to Jeroen Burks (via Whole Grain Digital (opens in new tab)The founder of a Netherlands-based data center, a 180kW data center can heat up to 5,000 square meters of greenhouse space during the winter months: enough to produce 250 metric tons of tomatoes.
The use of data centers to heat homes and buildings is becoming increasingly popular in Europe and is expected to become widespread in the coming years. It is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to heat homes and other buildings, and illustrates the many ways technology can be used to address some of the latest challenges facing the continent and indeed the world.
by the way The Wall Street Gazette (opens in new tab)