INNOVATION: Heat Generated by Data Center to Supply Homes in London

Dispatch from SSC Intern Jason Wirick

When designing a new building’s heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system mechanical engineers calculate the heat being released from occupants, computers, dishwashers, light fixtures, and other equipment and factors. They calculate this energy so they can develop a system to cool and heat the space to the owner’s desires.

Telehouse Europe plans to open a large data center that will house extensive servers and computer systems. The amount of heat that will be created in the space will be large and an opportunity was recognized. Telehouse Europe and their adjacent neighbors Barratt Homes are working together to harness the excess heat from the data center.

Iain Aitch and Hannah Bullock explain in World Changing:

Telehouse intends to install a heat exchange unit to pump water, warmed by the data centre’s cooling systems, to the perimeter of the site, from where a developer can pipe it on to their own site and use a heat exchanger to warm or cool buildings.
When it opens in 2010, the nine-storey £80 million Telehouse West data centre in London’s Docklands will provide up to 9MW of ‘free heat’ – enough for water and space heating in about 450 local homes.

As I read this article I found myself pondering what other opportunities are there to harness excess energy being produced from humans or machines. Could excess heat energy from a local sports club, manufacturing facility, or even a local night club be used in adjacent businesses or residences? Hopefully more innovations and opportunities for integrated sustainable systems planning will continue to become realities.

Read the entire article in Worldchanging here.