Environmentally Opportunisitic Computing: A Distributed Waste Heat Reutilization Approach to Energy-efficient Buildings and Data Centers

By: J. Zachary Woodruff, Paul Brenner, Aimee P.C. Buccellato and David B. Go

With building energy consumption rising in industrial nations, new approaches for energy efficiency are required. Similarly, the data centers that house information and communications technology continue to consume significant amounts of energy, especially for cooling the equipment, which in turn produces vast amounts of waste heat. A new strategy to overcome these challenges is called environmentally opportunistic computing (EOC), which conceptualizes the data center as a series of distributed heat providers (nodes) for other-purposed buildings that use the waste heat from the data center nodes to offset their own heating costs. In this paper, a general framework for evaluating the deployment of EOC is developed and select model cases are analyzed. The results show that by redefining a centralized datacenter as distributed nodes across multiple buildings, the overall energy consumption of an organization decreases significantly. The advantages of applying EOC to buildings that require constant water heat as opposed to seasonal space heat are explained, and the method of distributing the computational load among data center nodes is evaluated.

To read the full article published in the Journal of Energy and Buildings click EOC_Modeling.pdf