New project to explore how waste data centre heat can be reused in Dublin

12 May 2022

Donna Gartland, CEO of Codema, and Maurice Mortell, sustainability lead in EMEA and managing director for Equinix in Ireland. Image: Equinix

Codema and Equinix will look at new ways to reuse waste data centre heat for vital public infrastructure.

Dublin energy agency Codema is partnering with data centre provider Equinix on a project exploring the reuse of waste data centre heat in the Blanchardstown area of Dublin.

California-headquartered Equinix has four data centres in west Dublin. Its work with Codema will see the two organisations look into ways that waste heat from these data centres can be used to support facilities in the local area, which include a hospital, university and an aquatics centre.

Codema works with Dublin’s local authorities with the aim of accelerating the region’s net-zero transition through innovative, local-level energy and climate research, engagement and projects. Last year, it announced a €1.2m project to test mass-scale retrofitting of buildings in the capital.

Donna Gartland, CEO of Codema, summed up its mission as leading “the low-carbon transition in Dublin”.

“We have enough waste and renewable heat available in Dublin to completely move all buildings away from fossil fuel heating, and working with progressive and ambitious industry stakeholders like Equinix enables us to bring these district heating projects to reality,” she added.

In 2020, Gartland told about the challenges involved in reducing Dublin’s reliance on fossil fuels and the opportunities of district energy schemes.

There are many concerns about the environmental impact of data centres in Ireland and the toll they may take on the country’s energy supply. New figures released earlier this month revealed that Irish data centres consumed more electricity than rural dwellings last year.

Equinix has been making efforts in recent years to reduce its carbon footprint. Over the past three years, it has reduced its Irish data centre carbon emissions by 16pc and it aims to become carbon neutral globally by 2030.

The company plans to achieve this goal through initiatives such as district heating, which delivers low-carbon heat to buildings through a network of insulated underground pipelines. District heating is fuel agnostic, which can help to drive down heating costs and ensure security of supply.

Maurice Mortell, Equinix’s sustainability lead in EMEA and managing director for Ireland, said that the company’s partnership with Codema would help it explore ways to work towards its own decarbonisation while also benefitting the local community.

“Codema has been doing admirable work in its goal to decarbonise Dublin. We are delighted to be working with them and look forward to learning how we can continue to support them on their important carbon-zero mission,” Mortell added.

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Blathnaid O’Dea is Careers reporter at Silicon Republic