To heat its students during winter, the French University of Bourgogne uses its datacenter
By   |  December 22, 2016

Recycling the heat produced by computers is not a new idea. However, few organizations are really applying the concept to their infrastructures in the way the University of Bourgogne (UB) is doing. The educational complex is now heating its premises thanks to the datacenter installed within the university campus. This is certainly one of the best solutions to reduce the ecological impact of its infrastructures.

Winter is here just like the cold that goes with it and UB has found an original and innovative solution to heat its premises. The building that houses the data center is used to heat all the other buildings on the campus. A method that is becoming more democratic in the world of new technologies thanks to the energy it saves.

Two birds with one stone

The Jerlaure company, which specializes in data center design and who took care of the study, explains that the 28,000 students on the UB campus will be kept warm thanks to the TIER 3 Datacenter installed at the university. According to calculations, the data center of 675 m² will produce 400 kW of heat which will be redistributed on the university campus. This heating power should double when operating the Datacenter is optimal.

Principle of operation

Jerlaure does not provide much explanation as how its system works. One can imagine that the energy transfer takes place at the level of the data center cooling system. Heat released by cooling systems are in all likelihood recycled by pipe systems that transport it to different areas of the campus. It is also necessary to be able to exploit this heat efficiently.

Still, in order to save energy, companies like Facebook have tried a different approach. The social network giant has chosen to install one of its latest data centers in Sweden, where low environmental temperatures are used to cool the machines efficiently by injecting outdoor air directly into the building providing efficient cooling with very low energy consumption.

A Tier 3 Data Center

The datacenter installed on the campus of the University of Bourgogne will be accessible to the surrounding scientific community and companies, and is certified TIER 3. This certification ensures functioning of at least 99.98%, which is equivalent to less than 2 hours of servicing for one year of use. Moreover, this certification is an indication of a sufficiently efficient redundancy system to ensure exploitation during a breakdown, at least as long as the issue is not generalized.

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