Good sense at Last?

It’s some time since I ranted, and now there are calls to ban patio heaters, and remove standby from TVs. This makes good sense: while that standby mode of a good, modern TV doesn’t use a bit of power, fitting a proper, hard-wired off switch is a good idea that has little downside. As for the heaters? Calor (who just happen to make the gas that fuels them!) say the effect is minimal.

Right. Pumping several kW straight into the atmosphere for no purpose but to warm up people too lazy to wear a coat? At least the energy wastage from the TV is only a few watts. The patio heater hits things twice too: It heats the atmosphere directly, and produces unwanted emissions and wastes petroleum-based fuel doing so. If you must heat your garden, buy a Chimenea and burn some waste in it- still not good, but better.

The emissions (in carbon terms) from patio heaters probably isn’t that high, but what an utter waste. Like shops with the heating on and the doors wide open, or heated shops with open freezers. Bet that uses more than we’ll save with CFL lights…

8 Responses to “Good sense at Last?”

  1. species5618 Says:

    then you get people running datacenters with 1,000 sracks, some of which are pushing almost 30,000 BTUs (roughtly 8.5 kWatts) of heatoutput, enough to heat a small house

  2. stymaster Says:

    I’ve thought about that here at work. We produce heat with electricity in the server room, and then cool the server room with electricity, and heat the building with it too. If you could come up with a suitably efficient heat transfer, you could use the datacentre heat elsewhere.

    Mind you, at least the datacentre heat is a byproduct.

  3. Willenhall Lad Says:

    Simple! If the datacentre was near the Ground Floor, you could just pipe the heat to the lowest point and let it out. As hot air rises, it would naturally heat the building. All you need to create the effect of air-conditioning is to use a fan to draw the cold air from outside through the datacentre and out into the building. In the summer, you could reverse the flow.

    The biggest waste of energy would be eliminated as transferring the energy to a medium (such as water of Freon gas) and then transferring it back uses energy in itself. If you just eliminated the transfer bit you’d save loads of energy. I’ve seen ice made like this, so the theory works. You could run the fans by solar of wind power of course.

  4. stymaster Says:

    I’m not sure you’d shift the heat fast enough that way. IME anyting other than a very small server room needs active cooling. You could still use the waste heat though. If you used water cooling and heat exchangers, the only energy input would be a pump, at a few watts. Still don’t know if that would shift it fast enough.

    On a related note, Google apparently are planning a new data centre in Malaysia. I wonder if they’ve accounted for the cooling load?

    PS: Freon? Where have you been? You’ll be wanting R134a now Guv.

  5. Willenhall Lad Says:

    If you attached the heat exchangers to the Central Heating system, wouldn’t that work?

    On the Google point, I wonder if they’ve accounted for the potential for bad weather or the fact that Malaysia has the highest growth of CO2. Google’s going to help that then!

  6. stymaster Says:

    I’m not sure the heat exhangers would do a good enough job. I’ll bet someone has tried though.

  7. MarkyB Says:

    The heat produced is a direct ASPECT of the business that has an IMPACT on the environment.
    It’s not a by product but a direct impact. Only by looking at the aspect/impact anaylsis of a business will you come to realise a reduction in carbon production.
    BTW heat exchangers are effiecient enough for bathrooms/kitchens so why not server rooms?

  8. stymaster Says:


    You’re right in that the heat is a direct consequence of using said servers, so if they weren’t used, then the heat wouldn’t be generated- I’m more getting at the point that the heat is a by-product of the actual purpose of the servers- like heat & pollution is a by-product of driving a car- but a patio heater is designed to heat the outside world. Regarding the heat exchangers: I honestly don’t know if it would work or not.