• Americas

      Count on quality and consistent customer services across more than 290 data centers in North and South America.

    • EMEA

      Harness cloud and carrier-neutral data center, colocation, and interconnection solutions across Europe and Africa.

    • Customer Stories

      • XTREME-D

        Find out how XTREME-D was able to meet its objectives and has positioned itself for further growth by partnering with Digital Realty and leveraging PlatformDIGITAL®.

        Keep Reading
      • Telefónica UK

        See how they leveraged PlatformDIGITAL™ Data Hub to localise data aggregation, staging, analytics, streaming and data management to optimise data exchange and maintain data compliance.

        Keep Reading
      • Criteo

        By partnering with a company like Digital Realty, Criteo has somebody who can work with them to ensure they move a long way towards their sustainability goals

        Keep Reading
      • Join Digital

        With increasing demand for a turnkey experience, Join™ helps their customers brings the built and digital worlds together with the essential Network-as-a-Service and IT-as-a-Service offerings for Smart Buildings and Smart Workplaces.

        Keep Reading
      • AIB

        AIB, Inc., a leading data exchange and management firm serving over 1600 automotive customers, sought to diversify their cloud portfolio to realize reduced latency, increased availability, and harden security posture.

        Keep Reading
    • Data Gravity Insights Hub

      Click to learn more

    • Investor Relations

      Digital Realty owns, acquires, develops and operates data centers. The company is focused on providing data center, colocation and interconnection solutions for domestic and international customers.

    • NYSE: DLR


      -0.01 (-0.01%)
      * Previous Day's Close
    • Investor Relations
    • Leadership
— Blog

Amazon’s Innovative Use of Data Center Real Estate

September 30, 2014

Amazon’s plans for a new Seattle office campus have gotten a bit of press lately. What has been less widely covered is Amazon’s unique plan to recycle heat generated from a nearby data center facility to heat these new office buildings.

The data center real estate being tapped is owned by Clise Properties and Digital Realty in a joint venture. As a member of the Digital Realty team, I consulted on the project and got a firsthand look at this innovative solution. This recycling of heat is what’s called a hydronic heat system. Amazon’s new Seattle office buildings will recycle “waste heat” from a nearby data center in the Westin Building.

In a more typical setup, the heat generated by the data center would go through a cooling tower system and would then be released into the atmosphere – a loss of heat. In this novel design, by contrast, the Westin Building architects came up with the idea to pump the heat from the data center into a heat exchanger. The system transfers the heat from the data center via heated water piped underground to the Amazon buildings. The water is then returned to the Westin Building once it’s cooled down to help cool the data center.

Quoted in a recent article published on GeekWire, Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien said, “I see this project as a first step toward what I hope to be a district wide energy system, that we can build off this as a catalyst.”

A very worthy, and green, goal indeed.

It’s worth noting, however, that a hydronic system such as this one would probably have been cost-prohibitive elsewhere. In this case, the system penciled out partly because putting in more cooling towers was not an option – they wouldn’t have been permitted by the City of Seattle.

In addition, the city offers credits to owners of new construction who incorporate hydronic heat systems. Lastly, the downtown location of the data centers increased the symbiosis of the opportunity.

As the saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Amazon’s unique situation here led to a very interesting use of the heat generated by a nearby data center.

Danny Johnson, Director of Technical Operations, Digital Realty