The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Latest Innovations Will Use Body Heat For Heating

Wickedly creative ideas and inventions are spurring up all over the globe as everyone attempts to “go green” and become environmentally friendly. Architects have designed a floating museum, car companies built a 200 mpg aerocycle and buildings are being constructed to create their own energy using renewable powers.

All these ingenuities by some of the most creative minds on the planet have me wondering what other schemes can they come up with?

Well, the latest concoction of an idea that has sprung up, which is a borrowed thought from other countries, is from Paris, France. Granted it’s not an original idea, however, Parisian engineers want to use human body heat generated in the underground metro stations to heat the apartment complexes above.

Popular Science states that this would cut down a third of carbon emissions usually generated by standard boiler systems. Currently, boilers account for about 60% of all carbon emissions from gas inside the home.

In Paris, the heat that excretes from humans is planned to be funneled through tunnels and used to heat up pipes underneath the apartments. Heat radiating from the trains as they whiz past will also help generate the necessary energy to fuel heaters.

Since the amount of human bodies is a fluctuating variable, this system is only an added feature to the cities energy uses and will use other reliable heating methods. In other words, this heating system will only lower carbon emissions rather than eliminating them completely.

As formerly mentioned, Paris is not the only city to have thought of such innovative methods of heading buildings. The Mall of America in Minnesota combines both solar heating and the passive heat from human bodies to heat the entire building.

The mall has 8 acres of skylights for its 220 acre building and relies heavily on the millions of visitors every year to provide heat in the winter months and keep the plants healthy, without having to use pesticides.

Another example of this type of heating which engineers are hyped up on is in Stockholm, Sweden. Roughly a quarter million people crowd the train station everyday and this is used to channel body heat for warmth in the winter months.

All the heat generated by these bodies’ flows through the stations ventilation system and travels to a reserve underneath water tanks. This in turn heats up the water and lowers utility bills in office buildings near the station.

One of the downfalls to this system is the inability to move the heat too far from the original source since the further the distance, the more heat is lost. However, this is a small risk the Swedish are taking to keep from freezing.

Just to clarify, body heat is NOT what will come in through your heating vents inside an apartment or even at the Mall of America. The body heat will only aid in heating the source, i.e, water which in turn produces warmth for a business or residential unit.

It definitely sounds like a practical idea in a world where human population is rapidly expanding. This is a great source for energy which incorporates everyone’s natural heat. In a sense, we all will be helping one another stay warm. Ah, peace and harmony.

I’ll admit, it’s a bit strange thinking of your house being warmed by the thousands of bodies smashed together inside a metro station underneath your feet. Definitely a clever concept, one in which I’m surprised hasn’t been thought of sooner.

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