The works of famed Odense writer Hans Christian Andersen depict Danish winters as literally the stuff of fairy tales — but in reality they are cold, wet, and dark. Now, thanks to Facebook’s data center in Odense, the third-largest city in Denmark will get some relief from the cold.
The custom-built Odense Data Center has been online since September, but its sustainability mission began years ago. The facility was located and designed with heat recovery in mind from the outset. The current goal is to recover and donate 100,000 MWh of energy annually from its servers — enough to warm 6,900 homes. This heat is donated to warm a local hospital and thousands of other buildings in the surrounding community. Like all Facebook’s data centers, this one is supported by 100 percent renewable energy. In Odense, a new wind project is adding more electricity annually to the Nordic grid than the data center consumes.
Odense heats its buildings via a district heating system. The system, operated by Facebook’s partner for this project, district heating company Fjernvarme Fyn, sends hot water to the city’s homes and other buildings, most of which use radiators for heat. A multidisciplinary team of Facebook engineers, architects, designers, facility operators, and energy professionals embarked on the journey with Fjernvarme Fyn to make it possible for the two-building, 50,000-square-meter facility to capture and recover the low-temperature heat generated by the thousands of servers and to deliver this heat for free to the community.