Datacenters offer waste heat

Without datacenters, our economy would use twice as much energy. By using a datacenter instead of hosting IT servers at an office location, an immense amount of energy is saved because a datacenter has acces to the best and most efficiënt technologies for cooling, and because of the scale advantages. But because of the growing demand for online services, the datacenter sector still uses a substantial amount of energy.

Most of the energy used by datacenters, is converted into heat. At the moment, this heat is hardly being reused. The Dutch Datacenter Association (DDA), with SmartDC as one of it’s members, has written a plan to reuse this waste heat. This plan has been offered to the new government.

An important challenge the new government will have to deal with is the energy transition. International agreements and local issues like the earthquake threaths in the North of the Netherlands make the transition to green energy sources more urgent than ever. The datacenter 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 for our planet.

To reuse the waste heat from datacenters, a more extensive heat infrastructure is needed. The datacenters can offer heat with a low caloric value, which is very well usable to heat homes or offices, when combined with a heat pump. Right now there are several private initiatives, but heat exchange on a larger scale is not yet interesting enough for commercial parties. The DDA thinks the government should take the lead in connecting heat networks and stimulating experiments in heat exchange, so we can work together to a profitable solution for heat exchange.