Microsoft lab will be heated only by computers


Software giant Microsoft is using the appliance of science to cut fuel bills - its new 10 million Euro research lab will be heated only by its computers.

Instead of installing a conventional heating system, heat generated by huge banks of computers used by staff will keep everything toasting.

The only danger is if it gets too warm in the airtight building during hot weather, but a sci-fi like chill beam system will take care of that.

Microsoft has chosen Britain and Cambridge in particular to build its main brainstorming HQ outside the US.

The company is famous for its innovative building systems and the sealed unit with computer heating is due to open this autumn on the University's new science and technology site.

The university is building its own 15 million Euro computer laboratory on the outskirts of the city and the two organisations will collaborate on research.

Microsoft is hoping to save money on the system which will at the same time minimise harmful emissions of greenhouse gasses.

Architects have been able to design the building as insulated and airtight as possible, which significantly reduces the amount of heat lost.

That, combined with the heat emitted by computer equipment in use, means that Microsoft can do without a conventional heating system.

Architects RMJM say the new facility will set a new low energy use standard for a computer building in the UK.

A spokesman for Shepherd Construction, which is overseeing the project, said: 'The combination of the very low heat losses with the heat emitted by the computer equipment in use has resulted in the building being designed without a conventional heating system.

'The omission of a heating system and the selection of a cooling system will minimise harmful emissions of greenhouse gases and result in long- term cost-in-use reductions through significantly lower energy costs.'


At Microsoft Research in Cambridge, we truly aspire to transform the world through deep research. The bold and inquisitive minds of our researchers and engineers have produced, and continue to produce, significant contributions to Microsoft’s most successful products and services, as well as to the broader research community. The interdisciplinary nature of our lab ensures that we push the boundaries of computing in an inclusive way, resulting in robust and trusted technologies that can be deployed at scale. We have only scratched the surface of what technology can do for us, and I am tremendously excited to be working in a team that is so committed to having a significant impact upon our society.

Microsoft Research Ltd