The Power of Possibility: Putting Climate Action Within Everyone’s Reach
Climate solutions are everywhere, if you know where to look. For example, a data center in Germany has found an energy-efficient use for the heat generated by their network of servers. Instead of keeping all the servers in a single location, they are storing the cabinets in houses and apartment buildings, where the heat can be used to warm the buildings and provide hot water.
This setup also eliminates the need to cool the servers, which cuts both costs and carbon emissions. According to this Fast Company article, “a full distributed network of servers, with 760 server racks spread out over different apartment buildings and houses, can save the same amount of CO2 that a forest of 520,000 trees can absorb.”
It’s an innovative solution that could be applied to communities around the world. And it’s also a clear demonstration that climate solutions don’t have to be drastic to be effective.
Climate charge can sometimes seem overwhelmingly big and hard to confront. As communicators, we can help counteract this by pointing to solutions that already exist, and that match the level of action the audience can take. In Germany right now (and maybe soon in America as well), individuals can choose to have a server installed in their home, which will both lower their heating bill and allow them to help the climate. Other solutions might involve putting solar panels on their house, or seeking out more efficient transportation alternatives. Businesses and communities can embrace the same solutions on a larger scale.
The key is to let the audience know they can make a difference – people are far more willing to take action if they believe climate change is an issue that can be solved. For more tips on how to engage audiences on climate solutions, download our new report, Connecting on Climate: A Guide to Effective Climate Change Communication.
Adele Peters, contributor to Fast Company
Who needs a fireplace when you and your loved one can cuddle up in front of some industrial electronics.
The data centers that power the Internet use more energy than the entire country of India. Most of that energy is lost as waste heat. That fact inspired an idea: Why not use a network of servers to heat homes?
Cloud & Heat, a cloud infrastructure company in Germany, stores server cabinets in houses and apartment buildings. While the servers crunch data, the excess heat is used to warm up the homes in the winter and provide hot water all year.
The service has a second major benefit: a huge chunk of the energy used in data centers goes to air conditioning to keep the machines cool. When the servers are distributed in homes instead of a single building, the company can eliminate the need for cooling. That, in turn, saves money and makes the service cheaper for customers.
Image credit: Cloud & Heat