Equinix is launching a district heating program and looking for partners to join.

Announced this week, the company is calling for municipal planning agencies, energy utilities, and heat network operators globally to join the Equinix Heat Export program.

Equinix Paris Icade render.png
Equinix's Paris facility, which is to export heat to Olympic swimming pools – Icade

The program aims to “unlock the value of the residual heat” generated in its International Business Exchange (IBX) data centers.

The company said it was dedicated to expanding its Heat Export program in suitable locations, and is actively seeking partnerships to bring projects to fruition.

"Our Heat Export program is one important way data centers can give back to their local communities," said Gary Aitkenhead, SVP, EMEA IBX operations, Equinix. "However, it is only possible through collaboration with energy providers, governments, and other third-party enablers. So, we are asking for more partners to join the program and re-use the heat from our operations for the good of people and our planet."

Equinix said the company has already implemented several waste heat initiatives across Europe and the Americas, with projects in France, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, and Canada.

Beginning next month, Equinix will start exporting heat from PA10 in Paris, France, and transfer it to the Plaine Saulnier urban development zone and the Olympic Aquatic Centre, which will host several events during the 2024 Summer Olympics.

In Toronto, Canada, heat exported from TR5 is distributed throughout multiple residential buildings, as well as a nearby hotel, university, and local shopping center in downtown Markham. That facility also services multiple buildings with domestic hot water all year long through the heat network of Equinix's energy partner, Markham District Energy.

Heat recovery systems involving data centers are becoming increasingly common in Europe, and becoming mandated in Germany.

Other companies involved in heat recovery programs include atNorth, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Green Mountain, Amazon, JD.com, VodafoneZiggo, Penta Infra, nLighten, Digital Realty, Stack, Elisa, and others.

Using data centers to heat pools is a relatively regular occurrence. Two bathhouses in New York heat spa pools with waste heat from Bitcoin mining rigs, while a new startup in the UK is planning on rolling out dozens of Edge pods to swimming pools across the country.

NorthC's Aalsmeer data center in the Netherlands ships heat to a local swimming pool. A leisure park developer is planning to heat a surfing lagoon in New Zealand using a solar-powered data center. French firm Stimergy heated a swimming pool in Paris in 2017 but does not appear to be currently active.