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What if your computer could heat your house?

Data centres account for two per cent of the world’s energy consumption. Half of this electricity is used to cool the machines. Three European start-ups have come up with technologies that can redirect the heat emitted by servers into buildings.

Cloud and heat, Dresden

Year founded 2012

Clients / ~100

Employees / 35

Installed servers / ~800

Heat generated / 3 kilowatt per rack

Hourly cost of service cloud / €0.015 to €0.025 

Hot Data (1)

Seven servers are combined into a rack, which is installed in a building. The heat generated by the servers enters the building’s heating system. These data-storage spaces are rented out to companies.

Qarnot computing, Paris

Year founded / 2010

Clients / ~300

Employees / 20

Installed servers / ~350

Heat generated / 0,5 kilowatt per radiator

Hourly cost of service cloud / €0.25

Hot Data (2)

Four processors are combined in a radiator. To obtain the desired temperature in the room, the calculations taking place in the radiator are controlled from Qarnot Computing headquarters.

Nerdalize, Delft

Year founded / 2013

Clients / Pilot phase

Employees / 12

Installed servers / 20

Heat generated /1 kilowatt per radiator

Hourly cost of service cloud / €0.90

Hot Data (3)

As with Qarnot Computing, eight processors are integrated into each radiator. Servers are rented as a distributed cloud service and the heat generated is used locally.