At least two European companies have a novel way for residents and businesses to save some money on their heating bills.
The deal comes from Cloud&Heat, a German IaaS cloud company whose tagline is: “The cloud that heats homes worldwide.” According to Slate, Cloud&Heat allows customers to store a cabinet of the company’s servers in their home or office. In return for providing the real estate, customers get to use the heat generated by the equipment.
“Cloud&Heat pays for the electricity and Internet service the cabinet needs and the owner gets to enjoy free heat and hot water. Plus Cloud&Heat has some clever fixes in place. If the servers do heavy data processing when no one needs the heat, the system stores hot water in a “buffering tank.” And the Cloud&Heat cabinets can also vent outside in the spring and summer.”
The server cabinets are locked so the property owners can’t access the hardware, and on top of that Cloud&Heat encrypts all the data on the servers. Slate points out that the French company Quarnot has a similar deal. Datacenter Dynamics originally reported the propositions.
It sounds like a good deal. And Amazon thinks so too. The company has a similar setup going in Seattle, where it is using a nearby data center to heat one of its downtown buildings.
Given the increasing variety of cloud-based services, from virtual machines to storage, databases and many other features, I knew it was really only a matter of time before we had Heating-as-a-Service.