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Data Center Sustainability: Community Heating

Data Center Sustainability Successes: Heating Public Buildings

With the cost-of-living crisis and an ongoing tumultuous economic period gripping much of Europe, rising energy bills have been capped by governments; but unfortunately, not quite fast enough to save many small businesses and enterprises. In the UK, public swimming pools are facing closure, with the BBC reporting that some 65 pools have shut in the last 4 years because of soaring energy costs. In Devon, the local authority-owned Exmouth Leisure Centre has announced a new initiative that shall keep them open and operating a public service – the heating of their swimming pool using just the excess heat generated by a local data center.

Just the size of a domestic washing machine, the nearby data center, owned by start-up company Deep Green, is surrounded by oil that captures its heat through its everyday operations. This oil, once hot, is pumped into a heat exchanger for the pool and warms the water through – an efficient and sustainable method that it expected to save some £100,000 ($122,000) per annum in energy costs.

Elsewhere in the world, similar initiatives have sparked savings and sustainability boosts. In the Irish capital Dublin, an Amazon data center the size of a hangar-style warehouse is reusing its excess heat (that would normally simply be pumped into the air as a waste product) to heat the Technological University as well as the local South Dublin County Council offices. For a data center of this size, the heat emitted as the servers process information is drawn into a specific air-handling unit where a coil of cold water cools it. This passes through a pipe until the temperature rises to about 185 degree Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius) and is then pumped through the other buildings’ own heating systems. In Dublin, this system saves some 1,400 tons of CO2 emissions per year – a reduction of 60% compared to its previous system of on-site boilers in each building. It heats 47,000 square meters of local public buildings, 3,000 square meters of commercial buildings and 135 residential apartments… all from one data center!

What would usually be a waste product in the form of hot air is now being used for the greater good, saving money and carbon through local communities. While there is undoubtedly still a long way to go in promoting such initiatives to become mainstream, their growing adoption is promising; and something Procurri vehemently supports.

If you’d like to boost your data center’s sustainability credentials in similarly innovative ways, get in touch with our team to learn how – it may involve very little change to your current operations.

Mat Jordan joined Procurri in 2014 as Sales Director of Procurri UK Limited and has been appointed as our Head of EMEA since 2016. He oversees our Group’s operations in EMEA.

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