If you invested one dollar and it returned 10 dollars, you'd think that was an excellent return wouldn't you? So what if you could get this same 10X return on energy? An industrial heat pump system called Heat Recovery where an additional 100 kW of power used returns 1 megawatt of heat energy.
This return or ratio of energy in vs energy out is called Coefficient Of Performance (COP). A resistance heater uses 1kW of power to produce 1kW of heat, providing a COP of 1. Residential Heat Pumps are efficient but very dependent on ambient weather conditions and produce less usable heat when outside conditions are colder. So how about a system that works at a COP of 10 regardless of weather conditions outside?
I hope you have seen our discussion on whether the data center is green or efficient Greening Data Centers or Make 'em Efficient? but either way you slice it the data center consumes energy. How can we reuse that energy for other purposes? Check out Part 1 of a two-part podcast (look for this next week) that describes how we have designed a system to capture the heat coming off all the equipment in the data center and recycle it to heat offices and warm water for cafeterias and other domestic water purposes.