Sometimes swimming in public pools can seem a little unsanitary, but one French town in the suburbs of Paris really puts the poo in pool. Sophie Deschiens, the Environment Councilwoman for the town of Levallois-Perret, was bugged by the wasted energy of hot water getting dumped down the drain. The water in city pipes averages a temperature of 68 F, she thought, so why not put it to good use?
Deschiens researched a system that uses a series stainless steel plates attached to the bottom of sewer pipes. The plates are outfitted with a heat-trapping liquid that can transfer the heat elsewhere–like to a pool. The councilwoman was so impressed that she decided put a $650,000 plan in motion to use heat trapped from sewer pipes to warm up water in the town’s new aquatic center, which contains pools, spas, and jacuzzis. The expensive project is expected itself off in a decade by cutting the city’s energy costs by 24%. And Deschiens’ program will cut greenhouse gas emissions by 66%.
There are actually a number of other similar sewage heat projects in existence–including one in the 2010 Olympic Village that is bound to increase visibility of the technology. So who knows? Your town pool might also soon be warmed up by your neighbors’ waste.