server, heat, cloud computing, cloud services, circular economy, innovation, disruption, data centers, wasteless future, heat recovery, alternative energy sources

A server generates plenty of excess heat, and a Dutch startup wants to take that excess energy and use it to heat your home! This is really wasteless!

If you are looking for an alternative heating source, there you have it; your laptop generates plenty of excess heat. If your running laptop is enough to warm your lap on a cold winter’s day, then shouldn’t servers (which emit a huge amount of energy in the form of excess heat) be enough to heat your home? That’s certainly the bet that the company Nerdalize is making. The startup hopes to “create free heat for everyone and make cloud computing sustainable and affordable”, by placing cloud servers in individual homes, and turning them into heating systems. Your house will serve as a data center for companies that depend on cloud computing (which in the future will be, more or less, all companies), and in return, those companies will effectively provide you with heat and hot water.

Nerdalize estimates that by turning common homes into data centers, homeowners can save up to $340 a year, while companies can forego the cost of expensive server centers, saving about 50 percent of their own operational costs (see their business proposal here). “This innovative set-up drastically reduces the household’s energy consumption while slashing the energy originally needed for server cooling,” the company claims. “Adding up all those free hot showers and avoided cooling, we can save up to three tons of CO2 per household per year.” The plan is to start installing these servers in Netherlands in August. Forty two households will serve as guinea pigs, and if all goes well, they’ll be able to turn corporate data into hot water. Indeed, the company says, demand appears to be quite high for this innovative technology, as more than 3,500 people have signed up and expressed interest in a server heater and the company has already hit 130 percent of its 250,000-euro ($282,000) funding goal

So, this could be the 21st-century definition of symbiosis. You get hot water and heat and all you give in return is space for hosting servers and allow the cloud computing to conquer the world. Still, it’s not clear if you will have to share other information of your personal lives, since for every server there are security issues. But, even if the idea will not be proven worthy, it deserves to be studied for the creativity involved.  After all, as I already wrote, this is the definition of a wasteless future!

1 Comment
  1. Piotr 6 years ago

    Nice one! Even if not in the shape as described, this kind of symbiosis using the available spaces is is worth to be further investigated. The “waste heat” of production – in this case digital production – must me better incorporated into the sharing economy. Using energy efficiently may reduce the need to a primary energy production. May, not need to, because we are all aware of the possible rebound effect of Circular economy. but this is yet another topic..

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