Innovation That Matters

Commuters' surplus body heat used to warm office building

Mobility & Transport

The energy consumers expend dancing can be used to power cellphones and even nightclubs, so why couldn’t the excess body heat of thousands of busy commuters be harnessed in a similar way? Turns out it can — and it is — thanks to Swedish Jernhusen, a real estate company that has devised a way to use just such an energy supply to warm an entire office building. More than 200,000 people move through Stockholm’s Central Station each day, and Jernhusen is in the process of an SEK 1 billion remodeling project to better serve all those visitors. Green Building certification is one of the goals of the project, which is scheduled for completion in June 2012. Toward that end, Jernhusen has come up with a way to transfer the surplus heat generated by the station’s thousands of visitors to a building across the road. How it works? The station’s ventilation system includes heat exchangers that convert all that excess warmth into hot water. That water is then pumped to the nearby building, where it reportedly reduces energy costs by as much as 25 percent. Is there any sustainability problem a little ingenuity can’t solve? We’re betting not. Keep the green innovations coming! (Related: Dutch solar cycle path generates electricityPedestrian footsteps, converted into energy.) Spotted by: Judy McRae



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