Underground train tunnels are quite hot. Your house in the winter is very cold. That problem and solution will soon meet in a London suburb’s pioneering green energy project.
The project will capture waste heat from the London Underground Northern Line tunnel, as well as a nearby electrical substation, to supply more than 500 homes in the town of Islington with a greener heating supply. It’s expected to significantly lower home heating bills and help meet carbon dioxide emission reduction goals for the city.
“It’s all part of the Council’s work to help people manage the rising cost of living. Last winter was one of the coldest for decades and record energy prices meant many families on fixed incomes spent it in misery, unsure whether to heat or eat,” Richard Watts, leader of the Islington Council, said in a press release.
The project expands upon an existing green heating network in Islington that opened in November 2012 and already powers 700 homes. The network repurposes heat produced by the local power plant to heat homes, and contains 1.4 miles of pipes to deliver the heat to residences. Islington’s council worked with London Mayor Boris Johnson and the local transit and power agencies to make the expansion to the Tube happen.
If it goes well, the idea of capturing waste heat from electricity substations that dot the London landscape could expand. UK Power Networks will use the experiment as part of a feasibility project. The mayor’s office, in its “Secondary Heat” report, also produced an assessment of many options for capturing and using waste heat locally, throughout London.
Would an idea like this work in New York City? That’s hard to say, though given the MTA’s ambitious sustainability goals, it’d be nice to see New Yorkers give it a try, so as not to be bested by their neighbors across the pond. As long as they guarantee that subway smell is not included in subway station heat.