Like Amazon, data center giant Sabey Corp. sees opportunity to warm buildings with waste heat


, Staff Writer
Puget Sound Business Journal


Sabey Corp. captures waste heat at its Intergate.Seattle data center to warm other space in the complex, which the company says is the largest privately owned multi-tenant campus on the West Coast. Intergate.Seattle has two campuses, eight buildings and more than 1.37 million square feet of data center space. Some of the campus is housed in former Boeing buildings.

Sabey Corp, the Tukwila company that is one of the largest private owners of data centers in the country, thinks using waste heat from servers is a great idea. In fact, the company already does.

The potential use of capturing the heat from servers and other equipment in the energy-intensive data centers came to light last month in Seattle, where Amazon will use energy that otherwise would be wasted to heat its high-rise campus now under construction downtown. This system is believed to be the first of its kind.

“My initial reaction was it’s a really cool idea,” John Sabey said Thursday.

At Sabey’s Intergate.Seattle, the company’s flagship data center, waste heat from the the facility’s “uninterruptible power supply” plant is captured and pumped it into a utility room next door.

“We essentially duct it, so there’s no heat exchanger. It’s a very simple way to do it, but it’s also economical to do it,” Sabey said.

The Amazon system is more complex. Clise Properties operates a data center in downtown Seattle’s Westin Building, across the street from Amazon’s future high-rise campus. Seattle construction and energy services company McKinstry designed a system in which water that was used to cool the data center runs underground to one of the Amazon buildings, where a large reservoir and heat recovery chiller plant are being installed.

The chiller plant will extract the heat that will be used to warm Amazon’s buildings, and the cooled water will be piped back to the Westin data center, where it will be used again to extract more heat.

With five data centers in the United States totaling a little more than 3 million square feet, Sabey is one of the the three largest privately held data center companies in the country. So it seems that Sabey would be a natural to tap into the technology, especially at its more urban data centers in Seattle and New York City, where it operates Intergate.Manhattan in a high-rise building by the Brooklyn Bridge.