It’s time for the next step, the reuse of energy

The data center industry is a rookie compared with many other industries. It’s about twenty years young, but when you look what this industry did especially in the last years, other industries can learn from it.

The data center industry became very successful in the cooling of IT equipment but also in throwing away energy and it’s time for the next step, the reuse of energy.

In 2017 the Dutch Data centers in the Netherlands consumed 1250 megawatt of electricity, that’s the same amount of electricity used by 2.7 million houses! The energy used in the Dutch data centers is mostly renewable and by reusing the heat this industry can become very successful in the sustainability

Increasing the return temperature of a data center is a very important part in this and there are several ways doing this. The first step is increasing the supply temperate of the IT equipment. When this temperature is increased, the return temperature will increase also. Within the data rooms there are several ways of increasing the return temperature available in the market and used by many others, so I won’t explain them there.

In our data center we started with Immersed Computing which has the potential to increase temperatures dramatically and bring energy out a datacenter in a more usable form: warm water of up to 65 degrees and less raw materials are used for the datacenter infrastructure.

We started with this technology because it’s new and we should embrace modern technology. We expect to install more of these modules in our data center providing several IT services and together with the manufacturer we will learn more and will create opportunities in the future.

For our homes we don’t need the same heating as we used in the past is the assumption of people, we probably need more cooling than heating because of better insulation and the use of floor heating for example. Currently and for the next years we still need heating so let’s use the energy which is available already.

Datacenter heat of large scale can be reused by many industry’s instead of homes. There are two reasons for this: scale (a large heating network for homes is costly, compared with a direct connection with an industry user) and heat use pattern (homes fluctuate in days and seasons, industry much less). Examples are: process industry and leisure (breweries, urban farms, hotels etc.).

“Think in opportunities”

This industry can take the next step, we should embrace new technology’s more. While embracing new technology’s some will succeed, some will fail. We are not embracing new technology’s enough, is it because this industry is too scared to fail?

This is just one example of creating a more sustainable world and we should embrace more modern technology’s. Modern technology can be combined with availability. Don’t think in risks, think in opportunities and Immersed Computing is not the only solution, more will come.

We are not bringing the energy needs between different industries and buildings together. This is something we need to change, but we can only do this together and we shouldn’t wait.

“We can only do this together”


Arjan Westerhoff

I am working at Equinix on sustainability. Feel free to contact me at