Servers generate so much heat that they have to be kept in super-cooled rooms, lest the entire Cloud collapse. People's houses need heat, at least in the winter months. Two great tastes that go great together?

Microsoft is researching whether they can keep servers in residential houses, thus saving the company money on cooling and saving the residents money on heating. This would only work in the winter, but it's always winter somewhere, right? (At least for now.)

This plan is not without its pitfalls. For starters, users might not feel super-secure about having their data live in some furnace room in suburbia. But if Microsoft can work out the kinks, this solution could save energy costs for both data centers and utility users, not to mention lowering the carbon costs of expanded cloud computing.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.