Warm smart home

According to French IT company Qarnot Computing, the heat generated by all the data centres in the world could heat half of American households. Qarnot claims we should stop wasting this heat energy. To make it happen, the company launched Q.rad – a heater embedding microprocessors as a heat source designed for homes and public buildings.

Usually, cloud computing power that is being sold for banks, 3D animation studios, research labs, cars manufacturers, etc. is deployed in huge, concentrated data centres. Microprocessors heat a lot as they operate, and they must be constantly cooled. This process needs a lot of energy.

At present, data centres consume three percent of the world’s electricity, and this figure doubles every five years.

Qarnot Computing has an alternative and disruptive solution to forthcoming challenges related to a global digital growth with radical energy savings. The company provides cloud computing through a distributed infrastructure where remote computing power split throughout the city in the form of thousands of Q.rads wall devices connected to the Internet. While doing its main job (which is, naturally, computing), every Q.rad gives heat to its surrounding.


A user controls the temperature of the Q.rad with the embedded digital thermostat or, like every smart home device available on the market, with a connected smartphone or through a secured web interface.

In the summer mode, the Q.rad generates unperceptible heat, allowing Qarnot to maintain important computing power during the hot months for its clients’ needs. The company deploys Q.rads in schools, universities and high-altitude areas to maintain processing capacity during the summer.

Q.rad is even more than a heating computer. Present in every room and embedding more than 20 sensors that measure temperature, humidity, luminosity, pressure, volatile organic compound, CO2 and noise level, Q.rads make a building smart.

Q.rad is also a Wi-Fi router, Qi wireless charging station, dual USB power charging, LED strip and stereo speakers. Custom colours for the Corian shell and aluminium heatsink are available on demand.

The most important thing for a user is that Q.rad provides the heating for free. The electricity counter embedded in the Q.rad records its energy consumption which enables Qarnot to bill its computing clients and refund the electricity consumed. The host is automatically reimbursed by Qarnot monthly or quarterly.

Q.rad can be deployed only in new or renovated buildings meeting modern isolation standards and equipped with fiber optics. In each room, the Q.rad requires an electric plug (110/230V) and a network plug (RJ45) connected to the Internet provider box. Q.rads use a cable connection to the network instead of a Wi-Fi connection, for both security and performance.

Once plugged in, the Q.rad is automatically identified by Qarnot infrastructure and is available for heating and computing immediately. To maintain a high-end processing farm, Q.rad is replaced for free every three to five years.

Dimensions of Q.rad unit are 65x60x16 cm. Its weight is 27 kg, and the heating power is 500 W. The device is totally silent (0 dB) since there are no mobile parts (ventilators nor hard drives) inside it.

Qarnot Computing platform integrates state-of-the-art security modules for encryption and authentication to propose an end-to-end protection of client’s data. Q.rads computing nodes are stateless (no storage). The decentralised and no storage approach eliminates the threat of targeted attacks existing for data centres.

If there’s not enough work for the computers to do when clients need heat, the company offers that spare capacity to university labs for free.

Qarnot commercialises the Q.rad to public and private companies implementing tomorrow’s buildings, such as schools and universities, hotels, offices and retirement homes. At present, Qarnot installs Q.rads in buildings for a minimum of 20 units. The heater will be directly available to individuals by 2017. A pilot program has started in 2014 – since then, more than 100 French households are heated for free with Q.rads.

Qarnot Paul Benoit Credits TrendNomad com
Paul Benoit, founder and CEO of Qarnot Computing, presenting Q.rad smart heater at CES 2016 show in Las Vegas. Photography by TrendNomad.com

Qarnot was founded in 2010. It is based in Montrouge of South of Paris. Its team counts 23 people. If you want to know more details about the company, please contact Paul Benoit at paul.benoit@qarnot-computing.com.


PS Qarnot Computing is not the only company with an idea of digital heating. There are at least few other players working on more or less similar business model, including Cloud&Heat in Germany, Nerdalize in the Netherlands, and Exergy in the US. Furthermore, there are office buildings heated by internal servers being used by companies that occupy the building. S11 Park in Zakrzewo near Poznan in Poland is one of the examples.

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