Servers turn most of the energy they use into heat. Normal data centers, even the most efficient ones, waste all the heat that they generate.
Currently, Dutch data centers use more electricity than all of Amsterdam, or more than 4% of all electricity in the Netherlands . That amount is growing fast, leading to more fossil fuel consumption, more hoarding of green energy, and more landscape pollution. On top of that, data centers are a massive drain on already taxed energy grids because of their enormous energy demand.
Leafcloud takes a radically different approach. We re-use the energy our servers use to reduce fossil fuel consumption in buildings like apartment complexes, nursing homes, and swimming pools. Putting it simply: we use our energy twice. First, to power our servers, and second, to substitute the use of fossil fuel for heating.
Some of the big cloud providers make pretty promises and there are a handful of examples* where residual heat is put to use, though hard numbers on scale and efficiency are tricky to find. Unfortunately, most providers still equate sustainability with dumping their heat as efficiently as possible.
Think about it like this: Incrementally improving cooling efficiency is like making a more efficient diesel car, no longer good enough. By rethinking the fundamental idea of a data center and using servers as highly effective heaters, Leafcloud is causing a revolution in cloud sustainability.
Our unique distributed architecture allows Leafcloud servers to be installed at locations that use hot water year-round. At these Leaf sites, our servers deliver heat directly into the local water and heating system. This replaces heating from sources such as natural gas, thereby drastically reducing CO2 emissions. Because we use existing structures, we also realise significant carbon reduction by not building large structures - and the required infrastructure - in the middle of nowhere.
Our measurements show that at a Leaf site we capture and deliver around 85% of the heat our servers generate to the buildings' heating system. The remaining 15% is attributed to our cooling system and a small amount of lost heat.
In the following graph we compare our energy spent with high efficiency datacenters, the average datacenter, and with an on-premise data room.
In this graph we use the unit of ERE (Energy Re-use effectiveness) . This measure is similar to PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) but takes energy re-use into account. The formula for calculating ERE is as follows:
Leafcloud’s result comes out to 0.15, when compared to 1.67 for the average datacenter , leafcloud is about 10 times more efficient!