Adopt a Cloud Server and Heat Your Home for Free

Massive data centers in the world require massive amounts of energy, not just for processing power, but also for cooling. While big companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft are looking into a variety of ways to make the cooling process greener, one particularly clever solution is coming from a Dutch startup called Nerdalize. 

Data centers may be out of the public eye, but 17 percent of technology’s overall carbon footprint is due to their work. Some of the largest datacenters host hundreds of thousands of running servers and sit on hundreds of acres of land. In the US, which hosts approximately 40 percent of the world’s data centre servers, it is estimated that server farms consume close to 3 percent of the national power supply. All these servers produce massive amounts of heat, and their cooling requires more massive amounts of energy. While big companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft are looking into a variety of ways to make the cooling process greener, one particularly clever solution is coming from a Dutch startup called Nerdalize.


Nerdalize proposes an alternative to the data center — individual servers, distributed in a multitude of households, where they act as heaters. First, Nerdalize leases you high-performance servers in the form of a radiator. While you host the server-radiator, or eRadiator, you use the heat it emits to warm up your home. Meanwhile, Nerdalize can afford to sell a considerably cheaper cloud service (“30-55 percent more affordable than the next best thing”) to its partners, thanks to the reduced overhead of a data center, and it also reimburses you for the electricity the server consumes in your home. The eRadiator delivers about 1,000 watts, the same as a small electric heater, and if the weather outside is warm, the generated heat is conducted through a tube to the outside.

 

“Look at it this way — the kilowatt-hour is really used twice: once to make calculations, and once to heat up someone’s house, where normally these will be done separately," says Boaz Leupe, one of the founders of Nerdalize. 

Leupe came up with the idea after he broke a thermostat in his home. While he was warming up his hands on his laptop, he joked that he and his friend should buy a hundred more laptops to heat up the house. The creators see the model as a triple-win solution — sustainable computing power becomes an affordable commodity; homes are heated for free; and emissions are drastically reduced. There are also benefits coming from the decentralized distribution of servers — increased protection from events like blackouts and earthquakes. 

Nerdalize together with Eneco, one of the largest energy suppliers in the Netherlands, have already installed five eRadiators in different homes and will be testing them until the end of the year. Nerdalize is working with the Leiden University Medical Center to run complex calculations in their research. Users of the radiators say they are easy to install and don’t produce any noise. 

Photo: Eneco

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

26 ultra-rich people own as much as the world's 3.8 billion poorest

The Oxfam report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency."

Getty Images and Wikimedia Commons
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new report by Oxfam argues that wealth inequality is causing poverty and misery around the world.
  • In the last year, the world's billionaires saw their wealth increase by 12%, while the poorest 3.8 billion people on the planet lost 11% of their wealth.
  • The report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency." We explain what Steven Pinker's got to do with it.
Keep reading Show less

People who constantly complain are harmful to your health

Moans, groans, and gripes release stress hormones in the brain.

Photo credit: Getty Images / Stringer
popular

Could you give up complaining for a whole month? That's the crux of this interesting piece by Jessica Hullinger over at Fast Company. Hullinger explores the reasons why humans are so predisposed to griping and why, despite these predispositions, we should all try to complain less. As for no complaining for a month, that was the goal for people enrolled in the Complaint Restraint project.

Participants sought to go the entirety of February without so much as a moan, groan, or bellyache.

Keep reading Show less
Videos
  • Facebook and Google began as companies with supposedly noble purposes.
  • Creating a more connected world and indexing the world's information: what could be better than that?
  • But pressure to return value to shareholders came at the expense of their own users.
Keep reading Show less