At a time when climate change and rising energy costs are becoming critical issues for individuals and businesses, alternative energy sources are of paramount importance. One source of energy that has remained largely untapped is the waste heat generated by data centres.
The Telehouse, which houses our servers, consumes over 1 billion kWh of electricity and generates a significant amount of waste heat, much of which is wasted and unused. However, a solution is being implemented in collaboration with Instone Real Estate and their "franky" residential complex in Frankfurt.
Starting with the first heat delivery this year and for the next 15 years, the waste heat from the server rooms will cover at least 60% of the heating requirements. This will not only result in significant cost savings for the residents due to the free heat supply, but will also save 400 tonnes of CO2 per year compared to a gas heating system.
Fewer costs for the data centre and residents!
The data centre and its hardware can also benefit from this initiative. The use of waste heat reduces the need for conventional cooling, which in turn can lead to savings in operating costs. This is another example of how sustainable technologies can be not only more environmentally friendly, but also more cost effective.
As the first project of its kind and on this scale in Germany, it generates 2,400 MWh/a of heat that would otherwise be wasted. It is supplied by two large heat pumps, each with a capacity of 320 kWth, and a district heating transfer station with a capacity of 3,210 kWth.
While the proximity of the residential complex to the data centre made this project easier to implement, there are several challenges to widespread adoption. In theory, by 2030, the entire heating demand of residential and office buildings could be met by waste heat from data centres. However, progress has been slow, mainly due to issues such as the ability to transport waste heat, the costs involved and the openness required from developers and investors.
Despite these challenges, the use of waste heat from data centres represents a significant opportunity to reduce energy costs and environmental impact. By working together, data centres, energy providers and city planners can create more sustainable cities that are less dependent on external energy sources for their heating needs.