Heating a big sports arena can be an expensive proposition, even in a warm climate like Dallas, home of this weekend's Super Bowl XLV. But with electricity and natural gas prices on the rise, how can a cash-strapped town affordably heat game courts and swimming pools?
One town in the United Kingdom has a rather unique idea: to heat the public swimming pool and sports complex with the excess heat from the crematorium next door.
The Redditch Borough Council in Worcestershire proposed the idea to heat Abbey Stadium Sports Centre, saying it would save them around £14,500 ($23,500) a year. The council owns both the crematorium and the sports center, which is currently constructing a new building. The idea would also let the city avoid a £100,000 ($162,000) expense to buy heating equipment for the new facility.
Heat from a crematorium can reach more than 1,400 degrees. All of that heat (and its accompanying energy) would be lost into the atmosphere if it is not otherwise captured. The council says this would also reduce the city's total CO2 emissions.
Gordon Hull, a representative of the Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities, told the UK's Daily Mail, "From an environmental view, it makes sense that you don't need a separate boiler because of how much waste heat is created from the process."
Redditch Borough Council is also already in the process of upgrading the crematorium's equipment to reduce mercury emissions, as required by European Union legislation. The new equipment would lower the temperature of the atmosphere in the crematorium from 1,400 degrees to around 300 degrees by piping in cold water. That water, now heated, then needs to go somewhere. Council members say the stadium next door is the natural choice.
"The use of waste heat energy in this way is good practice and very innovative," said council leader Carole Gandy in a prepared statement. "It would genuinely be a first in the U.K. and demonstrates Redditch Borough Council's seriousness about addressing climate change issues, especially reducing its reliance on fossil fuels, and reducing the borough's carbon footprint."
Others weren't convinced. Simon Thomas of nearby Thomas Brothers Funeral Directors told the Daily Mail, the idea was "a bit strange and eerie," adding, "I don't know how comfortable people would feel about the swimming pool being heated due to the death of a loved one."
So far, this is just a proposal, but it will be further discussed on Feb. 7 (the day after the Super Bowl, which is going green in other, less controversial, manners).
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