Data centres in the country have reduced their energy costs by up to 20% by selling the heat generated by their server units to energy companies.
Finland is offering data centers a unique opportunity to reduce both their energy costs and carbon footprint by utilising the heat they generate.
The heat generated by server units is a desirable asset for energy companies, as it can be supplied to local businesses and households through the country’s numerous – and highly-advanced – district heating networks.
District heat satisfies almost half, or 46 per cent, of the total heating demand of commercial and residential buildings in Finland, according to Finnish Energy.
There are already several examples of energy companies recovering the heat generated by data centres and feeding it into their district heating network – unsurprisingly, as such partnerships have proven mutually beneficial.
Yandex, the operator of the largest search engine in Russia, has recorded a 10–20 per cent decrease in the energy costs of its data center in Mäntsälä, Southern Finland, after signing a heat recovery agreement with Nivos. Last December alone, its data center fed 1.5 gigawatt-hours of thermal energy into the energy company’s district heating network.
Nivos, in turn, has reported that it has slashed the carbon dioxide emissions of its district heating system by as much as 40 per cent by recycling the heat recovered from the server farm.
Ericsson’s data center to heat 1,000 homes in Kirkkonummi
In 2016, Ericsson announced that it has signed an agreement for recovering the heat generated by its data center in Kirkkonummi, Southern Finland, and routing it into the district heating system of Fortum, an energy company based in Espoo.
The 10,000–15,000 megawatt-hours of heat generated annually by the data center will be recovered by heat pumps and will suffice to satisfy the heating needs of approximately 1,000 households.