Apple's upcoming Danish data center will help warm area homes

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Once complete, Apple's data center in Viborg, Denmark will actually redirect heat to warm homes in the surrounding Jutland region, Apple noted this week.




The center will "capture excess heat from its equipment and conduct it into the local district heating system," Apple explained in its 2017 Environmental Responsibility Report. Apple in turn will receive some power from the landscape -- in a system designed with help from Aarhus University, agricultural waste will be converted into methane used to generate energy, with a fertilizer byproduct going to local farmers.

Apple is promising that like its other data centers, the Viborg complex will rely entirely on renewable energy in most circumstances. As a backup, the facility will draw from the regional power grid instead of diesel generators.

The company didn't say when construction in Viborg might be complete.

Apple is building two data centers in Europe, the other a long-delayed project near Athenry, Ireland. In its environmental report, Apple noted that it has partnered with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland on "innovative new ways of capturing [coastal] wave energy," and will use some of this electricity to power its buildings.

As with Apple's new Cupertino headquarters, the Irish data center will also rely on natural ventilation instead of artificial air conditioning.

Together the European centers should cost Apple $1.8 billion or more. They may be essential though given Apple's growing reliance on cloud services such as Siri, iMessage, FaceTime, Apple Music, and iCloud Drive.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    calicali Posts: 2,964member
    A lot of Apple's new innovations are for the environment and not even available to the consumer.

    a selfless company. 
    propod
  • Reply 2 of 15
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,047member
    cali said:
    A lot of Apple's new innovations are for the environment and not even available to the consumer.

    a selfless company. 
    It's great what Apple is doing in terms of environmental responsibility in its buildings, but to say that Apple is a "selfless" company is absurd.    If Apple was really "selfless" and really cared about its environmental impact, they would make computers in which end users could change the battery, memory and storage, as they used to.   Instead, many of those computers wind up in landfill as people are forced to buy another computer.    Would you buy a car in which only the car company could change the battery, tires and belts?
  • Reply 3 of 15
    I've often wondered about the efficiency of using waste heat from old Nvidia GeForce graphics cards to heat a small room during the winter months, while enjoying my favorite PC games. Glad to see someone else take the idea and scale it.
    cornchip
  • Reply 4 of 15
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 1,294member
    zoetmb said:
    cali said:
    A lot of Apple's new innovations are for the environment and not even available to the consumer.

    a selfless company. 
    It's great what Apple is doing in terms of environmental responsibility in its buildings, but to say that Apple is a "selfless" company is absurd.    If Apple was really "selfless" and really cared about its environmental impact, they would make computers in which end users could change the battery, memory and storage, as they used to.   Instead, many of those computers wind up in landfill as people are forced to buy another computer.    Would you buy a car in which only the car company could change the battery, tires and belts?
    You can recycle your old computer through Apple. If its worth anything, you get money. If not, Apple recycles it for free. With regards to landfills, that's not Apple's fault if people are too lazy to recycle something and instead just throw it away. 
    fh-aceking editor the gratepropodiqatedocornchip
  • Reply 5 of 15
    patsupatsu Posts: 407member
    zoetmb said:
    cali said:
    A lot of Apple's new innovations are for the environment and not even available to the consumer.

    a selfless company. 
    It's great what Apple is doing in terms of environmental responsibility in its buildings, but to say that Apple is a "selfless" company is absurd.    If Apple was really "selfless" and really cared about its environmental impact, they would make computers in which end users could change the battery, memory and storage, as they used to.   Instead, many of those computers wind up in landfill as people are forced to buy another computer.    Would you buy a car in which only the car company could change the battery, tires and belts?
    That's over-simplification, and a bit of strawman argument.

    They may have misread the pro market. For all we know, the next Mac Pro will have what you need (replaceable parts). It's about what the customers want, and how to deliver them reliably.

    People like me don't upgrade computers. I also don't like third parties touching my machines and replacing parts, especially after all the hardware malware and battery explosion news in recent years. Then again, I know people who like to save money bargain hunting for parts. 

    I do care about too many products going to landfill, so I typically sell my devices and laptops away in usable conditions. Interesting that Apple wants to recycle their products completely now to tackle this issue, but it's probably many years away.

    The car analogy is not so appropriate because they have been lacking privacy and security considerations since the beginning. So they are perceived more like a dumb heater or washing machine. But as car becomes smarter, begin to handle our information, tracking our lives, and hold us ransom, then yes I will consider the most secure car vs a car with all the parts replaceable. Heck, for all we know, cars may become fully rental or service based. So you don't need to own a car anymore.
  • Reply 6 of 15
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 2,703member
    zoetmb said:
    cali said:
    A lot of Apple's new innovations are for the environment and not even available to the consumer.

    a selfless company. 
    It's great what Apple is doing in terms of environmental responsibility in its buildings, but to say that Apple is a "selfless" company is absurd.    If Apple was really "selfless" and really cared about its environmental impact, they would make computers in which end users could change the battery, memory and storage, as they used to.   Instead, many of those computers wind up in landfill as people are forced to buy another computer.    Would you buy a car in which only the car company could change the battery, tires and belts?
    Bullshit! .0000000001% of customers really care about that so thats not going to save shit. Its just a couple of people here who whine and cry about this every time they get the chance to make it sound like its a big deal and its not. As someone who has worked in a computer shop, more often than not people just would rather buy a new computer rather than spend money on a couple of parts. By the time you pay for the parts and have someone put them in if you don't know how it's sometimes a significant cost. 

    A computer that is worthless to you may perfectly fine for someone else so they shouldn't be going into the landfill just because it doesn't suit your needs. This is where you as a citizen can make a difference instead of blaming Apple. Any standard config is more than enough for a typical user for next few years. Not everyone needs multiple GB's of RAM, huge hard drives, etc. 
    edited April 21 radarthekatcornchip
  • Reply 7 of 15
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 3,652member
    zoetmb said:
    cali said:
    A lot of Apple's new innovations are for the environment and not even available to the consumer.

    a selfless company. 
    It's great what Apple is doing in terms of environmental responsibility in its buildings, but to say that Apple is a "selfless" company is absurd.    If Apple was really "selfless" and really cared about its environmental impact, they would make computers in which end users could change the battery, memory and storage, as they used to.   Instead, many of those computers wind up in landfill as people are forced to buy another computer.    Would you buy a car in which only the car company could change the battery, tires and belts?
    This argument has been beaten like a mule.  You rally need to let go of that tired argument that is nothing like your car analogy.

    The reality is, studied and fact-checked, is that MOST people will NEVER "upgrade" their PC after purchasing it.  Never.  So it makes zero sense for Apple (or any other manufacturer) to engineer their machines in ways that will rarely never be used.  The side-effect is that they are more reliable, efficient, etc.. Apple should not spend so much resources to accommodate the 1% of people that have issue with it.

    On the flip side, I have upgraded my 2009 iMac a couple times since purchase.  It's certainly possible but most people don't want to deal with that work.  I'm happy with the way things are.  Computers have become commodities.  
    pscooter63macxpress
  • Reply 8 of 15
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,247member
    macxpress said:
    zoetmb said:

     Instead, many of those computers wind up in landfill as people are forced to buy another computer.    Would you buy a car in which only the car company could change the battery, tires and belts?
    A computer that is worthless to you may perfectly fine for someone else so they shouldn't be going into the landfill just because it doesn't suit your needs. 
    Computers should never go to a landfill. At least here in California, it is illegal. There are companies that specialize in electronics recycling.
    macxpress
  • Reply 9 of 15
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 2,703member
    volcan said:
    macxpress said:
    zoetmb said:

     Instead, many of those computers wind up in landfill as people are forced to buy another computer.    Would you buy a car in which only the car company could change the battery, tires and belts?
    A computer that is worthless to you may perfectly fine for someone else so they shouldn't be going into the landfill just because it doesn't suit your needs. 
    Computers should never go to a landfill. At least here in California, it is illegal. There are companies that specialize in electronics recycling.
    I totally agree...the computer that is worthless to you could easily go to someone else, or be recycled. Like someone else said, Apple offers free recycling. If its worth something, they'll even send you money for it. It makes no sense at all to just throw away a computer (Mac or PC). 
  • Reply 10 of 15
    palominepalomine Posts: 337member
    STAPLES!   We just took an old iMac with a fried motherboard and three all in one printers to the store for recycling. They have a points system for trading up your electronics also.
      It's infuriating that printers, especially, don't last more than a year before they need print heads. The cost of new printheads is the cost of a new printer. But for someone who can get the heads at wholesale maybe they can do something with them.

    Home Depot takes batteries and paint and more.  There are a lot of ways to recycle stuff.


  • Reply 11 of 15
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,435member
    palomine said:

    ...It's infuriating that printers, especially, don't last more than a year before they need print heads. The cost of new printheads is the cost of a new printer. But for someone who can get the heads at wholesale maybe they can do something with them...

    I recently purchased a new Canon printer/scanner for 1/4 the price of a set of ink cartridges, $12. Doing the job nicely, although I like probably most others, print very little these days.
  • Reply 12 of 15
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 1,621moderator
    zoetmb said:
    cali said:
    A lot of Apple's new innovations are for the environment and not even available to the consumer.

    a selfless company. 
    It's great what Apple is doing in terms of environmental responsibility in its buildings, but to say that Apple is a "selfless" company is absurd.    If Apple was really "selfless" and really cared about its environmental impact, they would make computers in which end users could change the battery, memory and storage, as they used to.   Instead, many of those computers wind up in landfill as people are forced to buy another computer.    Would you buy a car in which only the car company could change the battery, tires and belts?
    I just don't buy this argument.  A computer that allows you to change out components will last longer, for the few who would do that.  But for the vast majority, it would add bulk and weight in the form of connectors used to accommodate those swappable components.  Plus the packaging you get when you purchase those components, much of which ends in landfills.  And if Apple allowed third-party components to be swapped into their computers, then they would lose control of the materials and chemicals used in those components.  And lose control of the supply chain for those components, meaning control of the pollution that might be generated, the labor used, and the energy sourced in that separate supply chain.  That's already the situation for externally connected peripherals, why make it worse?

    Nope, if you were starting from scratch to build a global supply chain to supply computers to the masses, you'd build them as sealed appliances made from as much post-consumer recycled resources as possible, and you'd build them to be recyclable after their useful lifespan has expired.  Isn't that exactly what Apple is heading toward?  Having not had the luxury of starting from scratch, it must evolve away from the beige box era, and it's doing, in my opinion, a fine job at just that.  Far better than any other manufacturer I could identify. 

    The trade-off of 5-10% of computers in the field lasting twice as long, because that's like.y the numbers of consumers who would upgrade the few swappable component to get some extra life out of their computer, at the cost of the above just seems like the wrong trade-off.  
    palomine
  • Reply 13 of 15
    linkmanlinkman Posts: 557member
    palomine said:
    STAPLES!   We just took an old iMac with a fried motherboard and three all in one printers to the store for recycling. They have a points system for trading up your electronics also.
      It's infuriating that printers, especially, don't last more than a year before they need print heads. The cost of new printheads is the cost of a new printer. But for someone who can get the heads at wholesale maybe they can do something with them.

    Home Depot takes batteries and paint and more.  There are a lot of ways to recycle stuff.


    If you print very little and use an inkjet then the printheads are going to clog. For very light usage a laser or dye-sub is nearly a requirement.

    Relying on the utility grid for backup power seems like a risky move. What is/will be Apple's primary power source at the Viborg location?
  • Reply 14 of 15
    mike54mike54 Posts: 38member
    Apple needs their own data centre in the South East Asia and Australasia 
  • Reply 15 of 15
    plovellplovell Posts: 723member
    It's true that many people don't upgrade. But more than a few need new batteries and that has become harder of late. An elderly friend has an older MBP that serves her needs very well, but a new battery was essential. Re-use is a lot more efficient than recycling (to say nothing of landfill) and this is a win-win. I noticed just today that my iPhone 6 is bulging slightly (life still seems OK, interesting enough). So I'll replace that battery soon. And my daughter's iPhone is seriously in need of one - which it will get in a couple of days. See a pattern here?
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