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Energy Efficiency hot_cold

Published on December 17th, 2009 | by Susan Kraemer

8

Waste Heat From Data Center to Warm a Conservatory

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December 17th, 2009 by  

Just as data farms need to have that warmth removed, day in/day out, greenhouses, by contrast, need a supply of consistent warmth, summer and winter.

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Put the two together and you have a marriage made in heaven. For example; between the Ella Morris and Muessel-Ellison Botanical Conservatories and Potawatomi Greenhouse and Indiana’s University of Notre Dame.

Computer servers create a lot of warmth — so much so that keeping them cooled to 70 degrees is a major expense for data centers. Even caves are being considered to keep servers cool.

But actually, there is a market for waste heat. Why shouldn’t data centers earn a little extra on the side warming up a place that needs warmth? A greenhouse or a conservatory for example.

The University will house its computer servers in a standard shipping container next to a conservatory for cacti and other desert plants and will funnel the heated air through the conservatory so the waste heat warms the desert plants. Indiana has cold snowy winters, and the state relies on electricity from coal. Warming the desert plants with waste heat from the data center reduces greenhouse gases.

The partnership will save both organizations money. The University of Notre Dame will reduce their $100,000 in data cooling costs. And the city will save the $70,000 it used to spend to warm the conservatory.

Heating costs had been scrapped entirely from the city’s 2010 budget, so this idea will be a lifeline for the conservatory. The project might be able to save it from shutting down for good.

Image: Flikr user normalityrelief

Source: Data Center News

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About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today, PV-Insider , SmartGridUpdate, and GreenProphet. She has also been published at Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.



  • http://engagingenergy.com Ian Falconer

    At the risk of blatent self-promotion. Here’s a few ideas on heat.

    http://engagingenergy.com/2009/08/05/random-energy-ideas-part-four/

  • http://engagingenergy.com Ian Falconer

    At the risk of blatent self-promotion. Here’s a few ideas on heat.

    http://engagingenergy.com/2009/08/05/random-energy-ideas-part-four/

  • http://getstarted.nexyoo.me/ Nexyoo

    This is a good idea, and I agree with JJ that we need more use of waste heat overall. In the future, I wonder if data centers will become much more efficient and dramatically reduce the amount of heat they’re producing.

  • http://getstarted.nexyoo.me/ Nexyoo

    This is a good idea, and I agree with JJ that we need more use of waste heat overall. In the future, I wonder if data centers will become much more efficient and dramatically reduce the amount of heat they’re producing.

  • JJ

    We need far more cogeneration. There aren’t that many data centers relative to the population but there is staggering amounts of waste heat from power plants and industrial processes going to waste along with carbon emissions. There needs to be serious moves to change the economics of waste heat to give it some value, so carbon policy rewards those that reuse thermal energy where ever practical.

    If we had more heat driven cooling systems then the waste heat can be used year round.

    When PCs & large CRTs used 500W in a system, they kept my house warm half the year, of course summer was a problem getting rid of the heat. Luckily PC power usage today is a fraction of that and is still going down quickly. Next years Atom models will use negligible power.

    If all the worlds large panel TVs and computer monitors used the Unipixel LCD technology, their power consumption could also drop drastically since this technology uses 10x less energy for the light source. We will see if Samsung releases that next year.

    Its like they say, a penny saved is a penny earned.

  • JJ

    We need far more cogeneration. There aren’t that many data centers relative to the population but there is staggering amounts of waste heat from power plants and industrial processes going to waste along with carbon emissions. There needs to be serious moves to change the economics of waste heat to give it some value, so carbon policy rewards those that reuse thermal energy where ever practical.

    If we had more heat driven cooling systems then the waste heat can be used year round.

    When PCs & large CRTs used 500W in a system, they kept my house warm half the year, of course summer was a problem getting rid of the heat. Luckily PC power usage today is a fraction of that and is still going down quickly. Next years Atom models will use negligible power.

    If all the worlds large panel TVs and computer monitors used the Unipixel LCD technology, their power consumption could also drop drastically since this technology uses 10x less energy for the light source. We will see if Samsung releases that next year.

    Its like they say, a penny saved is a penny earned.

  • Uncle B

    American HIVAC technologies, sorely primitive! Even Canadians know better and illustrate their superiority to Americans with Straw Bale technologies that allow Solar heating of homes at 40 C below zero in great comfort! Question is: How many “Super-Insulations and their applications technologies have been hidden from Americans by the Corporatists? Look what the bastards did to the Electric car! Google, torrent, the movie “Who Killed the Electric Car” and study it well! It may answer why America flounders on the brink of bankruptcy and is facing massive inflationary forces in the very near future! These corporatist bastards, more harmful than terrorists, have stolen away any technologies that threaten their personal invested interests even over and above their patriotism – they are the scum of America an we need a cleansing and flushing of them and their patent Shysters! Even the government is in into these schemes and the U.S. Navy, according to a now silenced site, has depleted Uranium Super batteries to make Solar, Wind, wave, Tidal technologies viable, but hide them from the Patriots! Scoundrel scum bag bastards! – Check the movie for who they are, how to identify them and how powerful they and their lobbies really are! More powerful than your votes – look at Obama turncoat for them! The anti-American , pro-ROI bastards! America! Beware the enemy from within! Your fall is imminent and fourth-coming! Beware the corporatist!

  • Uncle B

    American HIVAC technologies, sorely primitive! Even Canadians know better and illustrate their superiority to Americans with Straw Bale technologies that allow Solar heating of homes at 40 C below zero in great comfort! Question is: How many “Super-Insulations and their applications technologies have been hidden from Americans by the Corporatists? Look what the bastards did to the Electric car! Google, torrent, the movie “Who Killed the Electric Car” and study it well! It may answer why America flounders on the brink of bankruptcy and is facing massive inflationary forces in the very near future! These corporatist bastards, more harmful than terrorists, have stolen away any technologies that threaten their personal invested interests even over and above their patriotism – they are the scum of America an we need a cleansing and flushing of them and their patent Shysters! Even the government is in into these schemes and the U.S. Navy, according to a now silenced site, has depleted Uranium Super batteries to make Solar, Wind, wave, Tidal technologies viable, but hide them from the Patriots! Scoundrel scum bag bastards! – Check the movie for who they are, how to identify them and how powerful they and their lobbies really are! More powerful than your votes – look at Obama turncoat for them! The anti-American , pro-ROI bastards! America! Beware the enemy from within! Your fall is imminent and fourth-coming! Beware the corporatist!

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