Without data centers, our economy would use twice as much energy. By using a data center instead of hosting IT servers at an office location, an immense amount of energy is saved since data centers have access to the most efficient technologies for cooling and scale advantages. But because of the growing demand for online services, the data center sector still requires substantial amounts of energy.
Most of the energy used by data centers generates heat. At the moment, this heat is hardly being reused. The Dutch Data Center Association (DDA), which we’re a member of, has created a plan to reuse this heat and presented it to the government.
A significant challenge the government has is dealing with the energy transition. International agreements and local issues like the earthquake threats in the north of the Netherlands make the transition to green energy sources more urgent than ever. The data center sector is already fully electric and almost exclusively using green energy sources, but extra steps are needed to make sure we can turn the tide in time.
To reuse the heat from data centers, a more extensive heat infrastructure is needed. The data centers can offer heat with a low caloric value, which is excellent in heating homes or offices when combined with a heat pump. There are several private initiatives, but heat exchange on a larger scale is not yet interesting enough for commercial parties. The DDA concludes that the government should take the lead in connecting heat networks and stimulating experiments in heat exchange to find a profitable solution for heat exchange.