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Using a City’s Excess Heat to Reduce Emissions

By District Energy posted 12-22-2021 10:38


The New York Times


A district in London has developed an innovative way to divert subway heat for buildings to lower carbon emissions. Other cities are getting creative, as well.

The London Underground is the oldest subway system in the world, so it might seem an unlikely source of innovation for one of the thorniest problems facing humanity in the 21st century: climate change.

While public transit is usually more environmentally friendly than other methods of travel, the Underground is playing a more direct role in a groundbreaking experiment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings.

The local council for the Borough of Islington in London has developed, planned and installed a way to provide heat and hot water for several hundred homes, a school and two recreation centers, all using otherwise-wasted thermal energy generated mostly by the electric motors and brakes of the Underground’s trains.

With world and national climate change efforts lagging, cities are taking responsibility for helping reach goals of net-zero carbon in the next decade. Islington’s project is just one of many innovations by cities around the world to provide heat to residents and businesses while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving efficiency and saving people money.

A neighborhood in Vancouver is also recovering waste heat, but from sewage. Stockholm is also using heat from sewage, as well as tapping data centers and other sources to supply heat for much of the city.

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