The data centre, operated by Deep Green, is housed in a public swimming pool in Exmouth, Devon – heat generated from it heats the pool for free

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Post-production house Dirty Looks is moving a proportion of its computing and storage to a data centre housed in a public swimming pool in Exmouth, Devon, that’s operated by ‘heat re-use’ specialist Deep Green. 

Heat generated as the servers work is captured and re-deployed to heat the pool, for free.

Around 60% of the required pool heat is supplied by Deep Green’s servers, saving the pool more than £20,000 and around 25.8 tonnes of carbon emissions a year through reduced reliance on fossil-fuel boilers.

Dirty Looks has committed to move the remainder of its computing and storage needs to Deep Green’s heat re-use data centres in the next 18 months, including real-time and overnight rendering and storage.

Video rendering is an energy intensive process and the data centres that support the industry are traditionally very energy inefficient. This is largely because data centres produce a vast amount of heat and around 40% of the energy consumed by data centres is spent simply to keep the computers cool, says Deep Green.

By capturing and re-deploying heat for free, Deep Green receives efficient cooling making its compute less energy intensive and, it says, more affordable.

The more work run on Deep Green’s units, the greater the potential energy and carbon saving that can be passed on to community assets such as swimming pools or homes (as part of district heating networks).

Tom Balkwill, founder and managing director of Dirty Looks, said: “We are delighted to have led the industry and demonstrated that high-end computing can co-exist with sustainability. Rendering films in data centres that re-capture heat presents a huge opportunity for our sector to benefit the communities we are part of. By cutting the energy bills of swimming pools and lowering fossil-fuel consumption, we are contributing to a healthier and greener local community.”

Mark Bjornsgaard, founder and CEO of Deep Green, added: “We are delighted to have partnered with Dirty Looks to facilitate this groundbreaking ethical rendering project. Currently the UK’s film industry relies on inefficient and energy-hungry data centres. Virtually all the heat they produce is wasted, ejected into the atmosphere, providing no social or environmental good to local communities. If the industry is serious about sustainability, this has to change.”