Far more

Data centers waste energy at an alarming rate

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 [1]. 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.


A better way

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.

Some of the big cloud providers make pretty promises [2] and there are a handful of examples* where residual heat is put to use, though hard numbers on scale and efficiency are hard to find. Unfortunately, most providers are still trying to dump their heat more efficiently.

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.

Introducing the future of cloud

In short We use our energy twice: first, to power our servers, and second, to substitute the use of fossil fuel for heating.

Our unique distributed architecture allows Leafcloud servers to be installed at locations such as apartment buildings, hotels, nursing homes, swimming pools, and other structures 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.

How much we actually save

Our measurements show that on a Leaf Site we capture and deliver around 85% of the heat our servers generate to the buildings' heating system. The remaining 15% are attributed to our cooling system and a small amount of uncaptured 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) [3]. 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 [4], leafcloud is about 10 times more efficient!

Leafsite negative co2 emissions compared with other data center types
Leafsite negative co2 emissions compared with other data center types

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  1. * A few examples do exist of data centers utilizing waste heat to heat surrounding buildings, but most hyperscale datacenters are too far from urban areas to effectively deliver heat. Even for data centers in urban areas, the required infrastructure is often prohibitively expensive.