Seattle always seems to be doing what they can to stay ahead of the curve.
I guess being the birthplace of Starbucks and the home base of Amazon.com, Microsoft, and Nintendo will make people try to outdo each other on the next big idea. The city of Seattle just might be trying to outclass them all with their latest project. They want to use recycled waste heat from the data center server rooms to heat sections of the city.
The city is in talks with Seattle Steam, a utility company called Corix, and local developers in order to redirect and reuse heat from data centers in the Westin Building and the Fischer Plaza to heat retrofitted buildings and perhaps even Amazon’s new headquarters.
Currently the excess heat from the data centers dissipates into water and is released into the atmosphere from cooling towers. Right now the water would not be hot enough to warm buildings, so a small energy boost from Corix would make that water warm enough to be pumped into buildings and radiators, thus creating lower-cost and greener heating. Of course, there are some high short term costs, such as implementing the heating into the older buildings and replacing the electrical system with the hot water one, but the idea is to have the long term benefits outweigh the short term costs.
While the city is pushing this idea as the next revolutionary step for a greener city, the actual data centers themselves and the developers have not jumped on board. Nonetheless, this is an extremely forward thinking idea as Seattle continues to push the envelope as a leading green city.