The IT industry is huge. Just about every young person I know has studied it in some form and plans to use it to build a lucrative career. I would do the same except I'm a luddite and don't like to come out of my cave except for special occasions. Fortunately people like me are in a minority, and the world is full of people who see the potential for technology to do more good than bad. Like the people at IBM who have recently built a “green" data centre in Uitikon, Switzerland.
Going green is a growing trend among large corporations, particularly among industries that rely heavily on technology. Some focus on using renewable sources of energy, while others go the recycling route. Still others look at methods to harness and channel their ordinarily wasteful by-products into other, more useful, directions. This is the path that IBM has chosen as it conducts heat given off by computers at its Uitikon data centre into the local swimming pool, warming it.
According to Steven Sams, a data centre services vice-president to IBM, the computers at the centre in Uitikon will give off enough heat to warm 80 houses. So heating a pool poses no problem. He also says that the Uitikon project should serve as a model, so presumably we'll be seeing similar projects being implemented at other IBM data centres around the world.
The concept of using the energy given off by computers to channel heat is not a new one. There have been instances where computers have been used to heat offices, but this is the first time that computing energy will be used to heat a swimming pool. The energy will be processed through heat exchangers that will warm the water before it's pumped into the pool.
The town helped to pay for some of the connecting equipment, but the “heating service" itself will be provided free of charge.
It's always nice to see power houses using their power for good and not simply for self-enrichment. Steven Sams was right; this project is a model, one that will hopefully be replicated by other big players across all industries, not only IT.
Sandra wrote this article for the online marketers Star Business Internet internet service provider and website hosting one of the leading Internet service companies specialising in business website hosting in the UK