They do exist, the good news. In the UK, a number of public swimming pools are now heated with waste heat from data centres. Win-win-win. Rare in business these days, but our columnist Markus Sekulla hopes for more of it in the future.
Waste heat is a much-discussed and important topic in the energy transition. There are many projects around the globe. Data centres need a lot of energy for cooling and then give off energy in the form of heat. In parts of the world where there are many of these facilities, especially in colder regions like Scandinavia, the waste heat is used to heat entire city districts.
In Frankfurt, Germany, there is a hotel that supplies the heaters with hot water thanks to a data centre in the basement.
And in England they have found a way to use smaller servers in public swimming pools and to heat the pools with the waste heat. My first thought: If a small server like the one installed by Deep Green at Exmouth Leisure Centre can produce enough energy to heat the entire swimming pool, how much energy do the gigantic servers of the big tech giants provide?
In England, people are happy about the innovative solution because the swimming pools had to struggle with high energy prices and thus – as in Germany – they had difficulties to operate in an economically sensible way. But their recreational value, not to mention their teaching mission, is very high for us as a society. This could continue to ensure generations of (embarrassing) school swimming lessons and colourful afternoons with slides and (bad) music. But personal experience aside – this is good news. Keep them coming!
Tiny data centre used to heat public swimming pool
How data centers at public pools can keep swimmers warm
Deleting data protects the climate
Text: Markus Sekulla