New and innovative ways of saving energy are constantly being thought up as we attempt to reduce our carbon footprints and live more eco-friendly lifestyles. Solar power and wind power are becoming more prevalent, but some more unusual ways to generate power are making headlines. One of these is the use of waste heat from the London Underground to heat homes.
A New Way to Harvest Heat
The project was announced in 2013 by Islington Council (here), which joined forces with the mayor of London, Transport for London and UK Power Networks. The plan is for heat to be captured from a ventilation shaft on the Northern Line, as well as a substation that is run by UK Power Networks, which will then be used to heat buildings in the area.
The senior advisor to the mayor of London, Matthew Pencharz, said that it was important to do everything possible to support energy that is sourced locally to reduce carbon emissions and bills. It is also hoped that this kind of project will create more jobs in the sector.
The council has applied for £1 million in grant funding from the European Commission, and it will also provide funding itself. It is the first such project in Europe, and it is hoped that it will allow 500 more homes be connected to the heat network in Islington.
A New Focus on Innovative Energy
This scheme is one of the most innovative energy producing schemes announced so far, and it will help many households to save energy and reduce CO2 emissions by using energy that would otherwise be wasted.
But there are many other schemes that are also being introduced that are changing the way we produce and use energy. One of these is the Pavegen system, which is a way of creating energy from paving slabs as people walk over them. This was displayed during the London Olympics, and although it will probably not go mainstream in the near future, it shows what is possible.
Other innovations are on a smaller scale, like the Nest Learning Thermostat. This new smart thermostat, which is now being installed for free by npower.com (here) on its Intelligent Fix tariff, programmes itself, turns itself down when no one is home, adapts to your lifestyle and can be controlled by a smartphone.
Of course, there are other standard things you can do in your home, such as installing insulation, double-glazing windows and solar panels, or simply being more careful about turning devices off when you leave the room.
Look Out for More Innovative Ways to Save Energy
The London Underground project shows the way forward for innovative ways to capture energy and reduce wastage. Over time, we are likely to see an increasing number of such schemes arise as we look for ways to reduce waste. However, don’t forget that you can also do your bit to reduce energy in the home through taking simple steps like installing insulation or making use of new technology like smart thermostats. And by making small steps, we can all collectively help to make a huge difference.
This is a post by Guest Energizer Emily Whittaker who has a great enthusiasm for energy research. With an eye for creative solutions and emerging technology, she loves blogging about the ideas and innovations for a more efficient energy future.