In a push to help Denmark phase out coal powered heat by 2030, Facebook are donating their wasted heat from the thousands of servers in one of their data centres in Odense.
It is said the heat will not be collected directly; but instead directed over pipes full of water and then transferred to a local heat pump station which from there will be distributed to houses in the local area. Facebook has estimated that the heat will generate around 100,000MWh per year. Which in layman’s terms is the equivalent to 6,900 homes heated per year.
The data centre itself is powered by clean energy; with a conveniently place wind farm next door which construction was funded by Facebook. It in fact generates twice as much energy the data centre requires, so the extra energy is sent to the grid.
As a excellent example of how we can live sustainably, Facebook have installed a glass wall to allow visitors from schools or industry experts. Visitors will be be able to see from start to finish how the data centre benefits the local area.
This is all in an effort for Facebook to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Back in 2017 they set themselves two targets. 1) To reduce their emissions by 75% by the end of 2020 (which as of 2019 they have reduced by 59%); and 2) To purchase only 100% renewable energy (Which as 2019 85% of energy purchased was renewable).
Being such an energy intensive company, it is a giant task to acquire that amount of energy from renewable sources. To the extent that, Facebook was named by Bloomberg NEF as the US’s largest corporate renewable energy buyer.