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Inside TDV - The Data Vault Blog

Turning Up The Heat With Cloud Computing

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As winter bares it’s fangs across the country, environmental systems are straining to keep up with the record setting low temperatures. Whether commercial or residential, people this time of year always have the primary concern of maintaining a reasonable indoor working space – but what if there was a better way to heat our business offices?

According to one unique proposal, there might just be a novel solution found in cloud computing technology. As with all large data centers, radiant heat from the physical servers that form the backbone of cloud services is an enormous environmental concern. Millions of dollars each year are spent on advanced air conditioning systems to keep this equipment cool enough to run, yet almost all areas of the country experience conditions that require heating in the winter. Unfortunately these facilities tend to be isolated from surrounding communities, making heat reuse a difficult task, but with increasing decentralization it may be time for a change in how we look at the options.

One flagship example of the benefits available is the Department of Energy’s laboratory facility in Golden, Colorado. Utilizing the rising heat from it’s data center in the basement, the entire building requires minimal conditioning during the brutal winters of the Rocky Mountains. While that particular building was designed from the ground up with this benefit in mind, Amazon is also currently investing in retrofitting it’s existing facilities in Seattle to take advantage of this idea. Overseas, German and Dutch companies are even exploring the idea of utilizing the heat to maintain temperatures in private citizen’s homes.

As more and more enterprises switch to cloud solutions, the environmental impact of this switch will be felt. Finding novel and innovative ways to turn waste products (such as heat) into net benefits can offset the costs of this change and maintain the environment for a better future.

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