Ideas Wanted: Creative Heat Recycling from Servers

The University of Notre Dame heats a botanical garden with waste server heat. We're looking for more creative ideas from you on recycling waste server heat.

The botanical garden that is heated by Notre Dame's servers specializes in desert plants and is located in Indiana, well know for its brutal winters. The concept is simple. The waste server heat is pumped into the interior space of the garden to keep the desert-loving plants toasty warm all year long. This simple, creative step is saving the university $100,000 on cooling costs and the owner of the botanical garden, the City of South Bend, Indiana, another $70,000 on heating costs. Not only that, but the atmosphere is spared many thousands of tons of pollution from carbon emissions. That is quite a triple win-win-win arrangement.

This leads me to my challenge to you. Have you ever worked on or heard about creative solutions like this, where waste heat from servers or data centers is recycled (or managed) in a non-traditional way that conserves energy? If so, we'd love to hear about it. We'll discuss your responses in a future edition of my new blog on environmentally friendly computing, The Green Penguin.

To make this more interesting, there are free t-shirts for the most interesting submissions! Send your stories to me, James Gray, Linux Journal Products Editor, at I look forward to reading them.

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James Gray is Products Editor for Linux Journal.


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Soğutma Büyüsü

Soğutma Büyüsü's picture

Some day one of my friends heated his launch on charger of my laptop. I though servers may be used for that purpose too.

What do they do with heat

Sergiy Kuzmenko's picture

What do they do with heat during summer?


msn nickleri's picture

Ovv, perfect system..

ND Grid Heating Technical Report

Paul Brenner's picture

I'm always thankful for journalists sharing new ideas in sustainable/energy efficient design. Here is the technical report on the grid heating project, I'm the fellow in the picture. To clarify some of the press releases this project has completed phase 1 (demonstration of capability) and is moving toward phase 2 (scaling up the number of servers to meet larger heating requirement). ND's HPC utility budget has rapidly grown from 50K toward 100K, the greenhouse heating bill is over 100K. Seasonal applications have obvious limitations in efficiency, we are actively collaborating on year round hot water production prototypes. Seasonal relief/make-up air utilizes well documented free cooling benefits. Year round applications focus on heat pump and similar technologies.


Small scale use

Anonymous's picture

When it rained I used to hang my wet motorcycle gear off the rear door of a server rack, used the waste heat so I had a toasty dry jacket for the ride home.

I used to hang my damp gym

Anonymous's picture

I used to hang my damp gym clothes in my hotter server racks.

Generate electricity

sampablokuper's picture

Why not run some Stirling engines and recycle some of the heat back into the supply that powers the servers?

Heating a pool...

Clark Mills's picture

Swimming pool heating possibly?

Sysadmin Jacuzzi?

Anonymous's picture

Great relaxation in a stressful job. Then all you'd need is a water proof laptop...

Anonymous's picture

NB - I work at IBM but was not involved in this project.

Heating Meal

Ebrahim's picture

Some day one of my friends heated his launch on charger of my laptop. I though servers may be used for that purpose too.