Far more sustainable

Data centers are champions in wasting energy

Normal datacenters, even the most efficient ones, waste all the heat that they generate. Because the warm air that the servers create is not re-used all that energy is lost.

Currently, Dutch datacenters 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 solar farms, more windmills and more landscape pollution.

graph of energy use of datacenters compared with other things

With your help, we can change this

Leafcloud believes a lot of this energy can be re-used to substitute the use of fossil fuels and takes a radically different approach.

Some of the big cloud providers are now making pretty promises [2] and there is a handful [I] of examples where heat is re-used but they are still on the path of just trying make the dumping of their heat more efficient.

Think about it like this: Progressively improving cooling efficiency is still like making a more efficient diesel car, no longer good enough. By rethinking the fundamental idea of a datacenter, Leafcloud is causing a paradigm shift, using servers as highly effective heaters.

Re-using at least 50% of the server heat

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

Leafcloud's unique distributed architecture allows Leafcloud servers to be installed at locations such as apartment buildings, hotels and other structures that require year-round heating. At these Leaf Sites the servers deliver heat into the local water and heating system. By substituting heating from sources such as natural gas a lot of energy and CO2 emissions are saved.

illustration of LeafCloud energy re-use

How much it actually saves

Our measurements show that on a Leaf Site we capture and deliver around 85% of our heat to the buildings' heating system. Of the remaining 15% some of the losses are attributed to our cooling system and the rest is waste heat that we cannot capture.

In the following graph we compare our energy spent with high efficiency datacenters, the average datacenter and then also 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:

ERE = Cooling + Power + Light + IT Re-use / IT Use

Leafcloud’s result comes out to 0.15, when compared to 1.67 for the average datacenter [4], it is about 10x more efficient!

different datacenter efficiencies compared

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


  1. State of the Dutch Data Centers 2020 - Dutch Data Center Association
  2. Fighting over who has the greenest public cloud - David Mytton
  3. ERE: A metric for measuring the benefit of reuse energy from a data center - The Green Grid
  4. Is PUE actually going UP? - The Uptime Institute