The Big Idea: Heating with Nerd Power

We all know that computers produce heat. Servers, computers that are networked together, also produce a lot of heat. So when you’ve got a data center which contained a lot of computers and a lot of servers, it’s like a furnace!

And the way this summer has been, that is a lot of heat to beat.

A lot of the expense in running a data center isn’t the rental or purchase of the property or even providing proper security. The never-ending expense is cooling the data center, which is why now many companies are putting them in cold climates. During the summer, if you have data centers in our area, the heat provides an unending challenge.

It turns out that this “nerd-powered” heat could really be useful.

Plenty of people, especially in older homes overseas, use space heaters and electric radiators all around the house for heating. Wouldn’t it be great, though, to have a radiator there and you wouldn’t have to pay for the electricity?

So this was the nub of the idea. A Dutch firm, appropriately called Nerdalize, came up with the idea of tapping into all that heat your computer generates. You can “Nerdalize” your house with their help. They take a computer, seal it up it in a radiator, and with the flip of a switch, you heat your room with the heat from your computer. Now, if it is summertime, you don’t need the heat you flip the switch and it goes to a heat exchanger outside, so it doesn’t make your, make your house hot.


But is this Neralize really worth it? Think about this—data centers are estimated to amount to 1.5% of global energy consumption, and all that heat is being wasted. So this Nerdalize solution is actually pretty clever.

Presently, they have just completed a year long pilot, doing data crunching for the Leiden University Medical Center, and as the LUMC were running calculations on protein and gene analysis, and other genetics kind of research, Nerdalize had proven quite effective. The current plan is you purchase the radiator, Nerdalize installs it in the room you wish to heat, you get heat for the the room, and you heat it with “free” electricity with your fee being the radiator device.

There are security issues: people might not want to have their data located in rooms other than a single server room. Remember, if you want to heat multiple rooms, that means a Nerdalize radiator in there which means a server has to accompany it. So they’ve got to make the computer and the Nerdalize housing secure, so you can’t break into them.

But let’s be frank—you probably wouldn’t want to run any high-end, Mission: Impossible, super-classified research on a system that will also be heating your home, but this kind of research Nerdalize has undertaken actually makes a lot of sense, and carries a lot of potential.



shurtz.jpgA research physicist who has become an entrepreneur and educational leader, and an expert on competency-based education, critical thinking in the classroom, curriculum development, and education management, Dr. Richard Shurtz is the president and chief executive officer of Stratford University. He has published over 30 technical publications, holds 15 patents, and is host of the weekly radio show, Tech Talk. A noted expert on competency-based education, Dr. Shurtz has conducted numerous workshops and seminars for educators in Jamaica, Egypt, India, and China, and has established academic partnerships in China, India, Sri Lanka, Kurdistan, Malaysia, and Canada.

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