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  • Writer's pictureRealFacts Editorial Team

Equinix’s Heat Export Program Powers Paris 2024 Olympics

Equinix facility

Equinix (NASDAQ: EQIX), a global leader in digital infrastructure and a constituent of the S&P 500, is pioneering an innovative solution to harness and reuse residual heat from its data centers. Through the Equinix Heat Export programme, the company is repurposing the excess heat generated by its International Business Exchange (IBX) data centers to warm buildings, swimming pools, and even infrastructure for the 2024 Paris Olympics, reports Maya Derrick for Energy Digital.

A Sustainable Initiative

The Heat Export programme is a cornerstone of Equinix's commitment to sustainability, offering an eco-friendly alternative to conventional heating methods. By capturing and redirecting residual heat, Equinix is not only reducing its environmental impact but also providing a valuable service to local communities.

“Our Heat Export programme is one important way data centers can give back to their local communities,” said Gary Aitkenhead, SVP, EMEA IBX Operations at Equinix. “However, it is only possible through collaboration with energy providers, governments, and other third-party enablers.”

A Global Impact

Equinix's heat reuse scheme has been successfully implemented across Europe and the Americas, including in countries such as France, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, and Canada. In Paris, the residual heat from the IBX data center, PA10, will be used to heat the Plaine Saulnier suburb and the Olympic Aquatic Centre, providing a sustainable heating solution for these key locations ahead of the 2024 Games.

Collaboration for a Greener Future

To expand its Heat Export programme, Equinix is actively seeking partnerships with heat network operators, energy utilities, and local municipalities. This collaborative approach is essential to transforming data centers into valuable heat sources that can benefit people and the planet.

“We are asking for more partners to join the programme and re-use the heat from our operations for the good of people and our planet,” Aitkenhead added. This initiative aligns with Equinix’s broader Future First sustainability strategy, which includes investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and innovative technologies. The company aims to reduce emissions across its global operations and supply chain by 2030 and is a founding signatory of the EU Climate Neutral Data Centre Operator Pact.

Benefits of Heat Reuse

The reuse of heat from data centers offers numerous benefits, particularly in a time of rising energy prices and global disruptions. Equinix advocates for reusable heat as a more affordable and sustainable fuel source. 

“With planned legislation proposing strict regulations around how much surplus heat must be repurposed by data centers, policymakers need to consider a holistic approach that involves all actors needed to realize such projects. Failing to do so would only weaken an industry crucial for digitisation,” said Jens-Peter Feidner, Managing Director for Germany at Equinix.

Advantages of Data Centre Heat Reuse:

1. Reduced Carbon Footprint: Decreases greenhouse gas emissions.

2. Energy Efficiency: Maximizes the use of generated heat.

3. Sustainability: Promotes long-term environmental health.

4. Cost Savings: Provides a cheaper alternative to traditional heating fuels.

5. Revenue Streams: Generates potential income from heat sales.

6. Infrastructure Investment: Enhances local heating infrastructure.

7. Community Support: Benefits local communities by providing heating solutions.

8. Corporate Social Responsibility: Demonstrates a commitment to environmental and social governance.

9. Innovation and Collaboration: Encourages partnerships and innovative solutions.

10. Regulatory Compliance: Helps meet stringent environmental regulations.

By implementing heat reuse strategies, Equinix is transforming the operational by-products of data centers into valuable resources, contributing to environmental goals, and addressing fuel poverty. This initiative exemplifies how data centers can play a crucial role in the circular economy, providing sustainable and cost-effective heating solutions while supporting local communities and infrastructure.

Equinix’s Heat Export programme not only showcases the potential of sustainable practices within the data center industry but also sets a precedent for how technology companies can positively impact the environment and society.


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