Many European countries are using existing technologies to heat homes due to worries about pollution and a reliance on foreign nations for energy sources. Many of the largest technology companies’ data centres are already located on the continent, and they need a significant amount of electricity to keep servers and hot computers cool.
The immense heat produced as a by-product of storing our expanding data bank is normally dissipated by air conditioning systems or cooling towers, resulting in heat loss. However, an increasing number of data centres are increasingly warming homes and other structures with the surplus heat.
Since 2020, Meta has been recovering extra heat from its Odense data centre for use in Denmark. By the end of the following year, the company intends to be able to heat the equivalent of 11,000 households. Similar plans have already been made by Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon, and Alphabet has committed to looking into the prospects.
With another 15 planned, district heating systems are now connected to ten Dutch data centres, distributing the extra heat to local residences and structures. There are many advantages to using data centres to heat homes. Fossil fuels, which are frequently used to heat homes in Europe, are less frequently used as a result.
Additionally, as data centres are frequently currently powered by renewable energy sources like solar and wind power, there is the potential to lower carbon dioxide emissions. National and local governments are said to have created tax incentives for the more intelligent use of excess heat in France and Denmark, and some building licences demand the recapturing of excessive heat.
Data centres are also used to heat greenhouses, enabling farmers to cultivate crops all year round in addition to heating residences. According to Jeroen Burks, the founder of a Dutch data centre, a 180kW data centre could heat up to 5,000m2 of greenhouse space in the winter, which would be sufficient to grow 250 metric tonnes of tomatoes.
In Europe, it is becoming more and more common to use data centres to heat homes and buildings, and in the years to come, this trend is projected to grow. It highlights the various ways in which technology may be utilised to address some of the current difficulties that the continent, and in fact, the entire globe, is facing. It is a cost-effective and ecologically beneficial method of heating houses and other structures.