A startup called Nerdalize, based in the Netherlands, wants to heat homes with computer server systems. It might sound odd, but currently, computing systems are kept in large buildings, which require cooling to keep temperatures down. In other words, running all those computers to support the Cloud generates quite a bit of heat. Nerdalize wants to put some of those computing systems in homes, and use the excess heat to provide warmth to the occupants. This heat is otherwise wasted, so Nerdablize reasoned that it might as well be put to good use.
Homeowners don’t own the mini residential computing systems – Nerdalize leases them. Businesses buy the computing resources, and Nerdalize takes in money, which it also shares with the homeowners. Nerdalize says its computing power can be up to 55% cheaper than what competitors offer.
A Nerdalize heater is sort of like a radiator, but it contains high-performance servers instead of hot water. These servers generate enough heat that the radiator emits it and provides warmth to a home. Nerdalize pays for the electricity to run the servers, and the homeowner gets the heat.
Nerdalize has partnered with Eneco, one of largest energy suppliers in the Netherlands, to provide their e-radiators to homes there.
Its strategy seems to be very sensible in that it saves money by placing computing resources in existing structures, rather than having to build new ones, or refurbish old ones.
It will be very interesting to see if, at some point, the Nerdalize heater/computing systems take off, and eventually are powered with solar panels on the homeowners roofs. If that was the case, they would comprise a whole system that would provide electricity, heat, and cloud computing services.
Nerdalize might be on to something, especially considering that the very large data centers sometimes are not operating that efficiently:
It’s not unusual to find old servers in these data centres are still plugged in, but not providing computational services anymore. We call these zombie servers. They’re just taking up space, consuming electricity to stay on, but there’s just no incentive for the IT department to start poking around their data centre to figure out which servers they can unplug.
Image Credit: Nerdalize