Contact: Hannah Schuster,


Open Compute Project Highlights Policies to Accelerate Data Center Heat Reuse

A new report — from authors at David Gardiner and Associates, NREL, Microsoft, and AQ Compute — highlights 20+ global policies that aim to encourage heat reuse across growing data center industry


Washington, D.C. (April 22) — A new report from the Open Compute Project (OCP) outlines policies that can facilitate greater adoption of data center heat reuse. As new data centers rapidly expand their footprint, the industry needs strategies to limit its substantial energy consumption. The OCP report explores the benefits of, and obstacles to, data center heat reuse and highlights more than 20 specific policies across Europe, Asia, and North America that encourage, or require, heat reuse.

Data centers produce large amounts of heat and must use large amounts of electricity to cool it; otherwise their servers may overheat and fail. Data centers can turn their heat into an asset by selling it to industrial or commercial facilities that require large amounts of low-temperature heat, such as hotels and resorts, food and beverage plants, and medical research laboratories.

“Reusing heat from data centers is a win-win that will help both data centers, buildings, and factories lower their costs and carbon footprints,” said David Gardiner, Founder and President of David Gardiner and Associates and the lead author of the OCP white paper. “But this tool is still under-utilized. Some governments have made strides to encourage data center heat reuse, but many more should act.”

The report features policies that tackle specific obstacles to heat reuse. For example, transporting heat over long distances may be expensive and logistically difficult, so it is beneficial to locate data centers near facilities that could reuse their heat. These industries, however, do not typically have relationships. Policymakers can encourage greater collaboration, as Germany has done, by requiring that data centers include proximity to potential off-takers as a consideration during site selection. There are also financial risks associated with heat reuse, leading some governments to establish incentive programs.

“Energy demand from data centers continues to grow at a rapid pace, but we can make sure they are as efficient as possible by encouraging heat reuse,” said report author Jaime Comella, Lead Data Center Architect at AQ Compute. “Policies that require such planning early in the design phase are crucial, and the solutions identified in this report can help kickstart useful collaboration.”

The paper’s other authors include Otto Van Geet from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Bharath Ramakrishnan from Microsoft.

The OCP paper urges governments to take action on this prime policy opportunity. It also calls on stakeholders from across the data center industry to work together to accelerate the adoption of new policies that will make heat reuse an economically viable and widely-used tool.

A copy of the report can be found here.

On April 25, David Gardiner will present the report at the OCP Regional Summit in Lisbon.




About David Gardiner and Associates:

David Gardiner and Associates (DGA) was founded in 2001 to serve as a strategic advisor to organizations and businesses seeking a sustainable future. Our firm combines expertise developing research and analysis with deep understanding of clean energy markets and policy. DGA has worked for foundations, businesses, and non-profit advocacy groups to develop strategies to identify and promote policies that will advance clean energy and a low-carbon economy.

Media Contact:

Hannah Schuster, Senior Communications Associate | 703-298-2339