> Did you know that a server will use more energy as the inlet temperature increases ?
Yes, I've been able to correlate UPS load vs outside temperature for our server room. We have no chillers, just ambient air cooling - with all the issues mentioned, it's surprising how dirty "clean" air is :-(
I can tell how warm the server room is by ear.
(Anon for obvious reasons)
But back to the article. Effectively it's suggesting a return to combined heat and <something>" schemes that have been around for ... well longer than I have. As pointed out, the problem is that the temperature isn't really high enough for a lot of uses. At say 30 to 40˚C it's just not warm enough without re-engineering your requirements - in simple terms, fitting massive radiators in place of the old slimline models.
Boosting the temperature with heat pumps would be a good system - feed the warm water about and let householders extract what they want, either with massive radiators or water-water heat pumps to boost it to suitable levels for things like domestic hot water (which needs to be around 60˚C or more to ensure legionella bacteria are eliminated). With a nice warm-water heat source, a heat pump could probably heat a store to 60 or 70˚C quite cost effectively.
But look at it from the householder's budget POV. Depending on tariff, lecky is typically something like 3 to 4 times the price of gas per unit of heat. Allowing for the heat pump having a COP of around 3 (which it probably would be for those operating conditions), and it's costing about the same in lecky as it would to run a gas boiler. So no running cost savings then - assuming you get the warm water for free.
Run the central heating directly off the low cost heat (fit bigger rads) and you can save - again assuming you don't have to pay too much for the warm water.
But whichever way you slice it, the savings are not huge (or even non-existent), but carry significant up-front investment - replace all the rads, install a heat pump for the hot water.
And unless you get a guaranteed heat supply (which you won't if you are paying nothing for it), then you'll still need the gas boiler you already had for backup !
And don't get started on the costs of digging the roads up to get the bulk pipes in !
Now, for greenfield installations the economics are a bit better as you can design the systems from the outset to suit the heat supply. But it'll still cost more than "throw in a gas boiler", for possibly small savings.