digital world is stored in data centers which are working 24/7, consuming electricity and producing excess heat in the process. Emails and Instagram photos don’t come without a carbon footprint: they’re stored in data centers which continually battle excess heat and suck up electricity to cool servers.
But Stockholm, Sweden recently came up with a rather ingenious use for all that waste heat i.e. to warm the houses with excessive heat coming out from the data centers. They have created a mechanism to recycle the heat and use it for warming homes around the city.
Usually, the data centers aren’t very environmentally friendly, and consume about the same power as the airline industry. The idea is revolutionary as just one of the 10-megawatt data centers can heat more than 20,000 apartments.
The initiative is called Stockholm Data Parks, which aims to create, “a data center industry where no heat is wasted.”
Some data centers do operate on renewable energy, but if their excess heat could go to a district heating system, Stockholm’s data centers could even become carbon positive.
If the project turns out to be a success, Stockholm’s data centers could even go carbon positive with the passage of time, which will help Stockholm achieve their goal of going fossil fuel free by 2040.