When you think of cloud storage, the last thing that probably comes to mind is the amount of heat that the servers used to power such services generate. Currently, most of this heat goes to waste, but some cloud storage companies are coming up with creative ways to re-purpose this unused energy.
A German firm called simply (and aptly) Cloud & Heat is one of those companies. The company developed an inventive method of simultaneously offering cloud service along with an alternative energy source for German households.
In a nutshell, Cloud & Heat allows people to store its servers in German homes in exchange for heat and hot water. High-capacity servers generate a great deal of heat, which normally goes unused.
In this instance, all that excess hot air is collected, fed into a buffer tank, and then exploited to raise the temperature of water and your surroundings. It’s as simple as that. All Cloud & Heat needs from you is space to spare, but there is a catch.
You’ll need 12,000 euros, or $15,000, upfront to cover installation costs. It sounds expensive, but for at least 15 years, you won’t be paying a penny extra. In the long haul, it’ll be like spending €66 ($82) a month on heat and hot water. As Bloomberg reports, energy prices in Germany are among the highest in the E.U. However, it’s unclear whether the costs associated with Cloud & Heat’s offering makes it a good deal for the average consumer.
In the summer time, or whenever heat isn’t needed in your home or office, the Cloud & Heat system can transport it out of the building via a bypass. You can also combine it with existing heating systems if you feel it’s not up to the task by itself. Plus, the servers are hosted inside a massive fireproof safety cabinet that’s virtually unbreakable.
A French corporation titled Qarnot is working on a similar solution, and Microsoft has hinted at using the thermal power generated by data servers for this exact same goal three years ago.
Maybe a way to lower user bills will also be found once others join in on this. In the meantime, you can check out Cloud & Heat’s website for full details regarding their server-powered heating system, and contact them if you’d like to volunteer.