Heat Your Home With...IBM's Waste Heat?

IBM data center cooling system image

Image of IBM’s Zurich Research Lab System, via IEEE Spectrum Online

If you’re going to be online and using data centers, you might as well use their waste heat to warm up the room in which you’re web surfing, right?

IBM thinks so – they’re figuring out how to use the waste heat from their data centers to warm up neighboring buildings. Earlier this year, we talked about IBM’s Zurich Research Laboratory and how, like many data centers, it uses water to cool its servers. But in a unique twist, that water is then used to heat nearby homes. Thanks to this, the data center reuses about 85% of its waste heat at about 50% of the electrical expense.

Taking this clever twist further is the company’s next goal.

IBM thinks one of its 10 MW data centers could heat about 700 homes, and they’re looking into using a water-cooled system to transport the heat. It’ll be expensive upfront, but worth the savings in a short two years or so. They just have to find the right system that uses water cool enough for the system, but hot enough for homes. They think it could be a hit in climates like New York and, of course, Zurich.

In November, IBM showed off details of a prototype system that can be commercially available in five years. So if you happen to live or work near an IBM data center, you just might get a better alternative heating system.

Via IEEE Spectrum Online
More on Data Center Cooling:
IBM Uses Hot Water To Cool Supercomputers
Google to Data Centers: Raise the Thermostat
Data Center Equipment Getting "Miles-Per-Gallon" Measurement Standard

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