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Microsoft in your community

Surplus datacenter heat will be repurposed to heat homes in Denmark

Excess heat created in a Microsoft datacenter in Høje-Taastrup, Denmark, is set to be repurposed to heat the local community through a new project with district heating organization VEKS and HTF. The datacenter, which is currently under construction, will produce enough heat to warm around 6,000 local homes.

VEKS oversees the production, transmission, and distribution of district heating around Copenhagen, and routinely harnesses surplus heat from nearby industrial businesses and buildings to support community heat distribution. Microsoft is committed to responsible datacenter operations, keeping sustainability in mind. Microsoft’s renewable energy commitment involves a 100% renewable energy operation, including its datacenters, by 2025. This initiative demonstrates a mutual goal for environmental sustainability and a more energy-efficient future.

Steen Christiansen, Chairman of VEKS, underscores the significance of this step in securing the future of district heating:

“There’s considerable potential for surplus heat from datacenters in the Greater Copenhagen area. This agreement is a tangible contribution to VEKS’ commitment to even more eco-friendly and sustainable district heating in the future – at an appealing price, considerably below what VEKS would otherwise pay for heat,” remarks Steen Christiansen.

“Our datacenters aspire to be among the world’s most sustainable,” said Mikael Mikkelsen, Datacenter Commercial Lead at Microsoft Denmark. “We’ve made substantial investments in energy efficiency as part of establishing our datacenters in Denmark. The agreement with VEKS is a pivotal stride towards creating an environmentally conscious Danish datacenter region, where repurposed surplus heat benefits both citizens and the environment.”

The surplus heat will be captured within the datacenter through an air-to-liquid heat exchanger and redirected in the form of heated water to the local district heating network through a series of pipes. Heat pumps installed by VEKS will then boost the temperature of the heat and use a heat exchanger and underground pipes to deliver the heat to homes and businesses in the community that are connected to that system. VEKS and Microsoft expect the first deliveries will be ready to reach residents during the 2025–2026 heating season.

This will be one of the first locations where Microsoft integrates waste heat recovery technology into its datacenters. It is possible due to the close proximity to existing waste heat recovery infrastructure and residential area in Høje-Taastrup and the fruitful partnership with VEKS.