A Paris School Turns to the Sewers for a Sustainable Heat Source


Heated water running through Paris' sewers will be put to use heating a school. Photo: Shadowgate under a Creative Commons license.

Paris has been on an alternative energy roll as of late: installing hydropower turbines in the Seine, testing the limits of urban wind power and using solar power to run its public toilets. Now the French capital is going further: using heat from wastewater in its sewers to keep the students at a local school group warm and toasty.It's the first time this process has been used in Paris, but it's not unprecedented. Last year, a nearby town began using the heat from wastewater in its pipes to heat its swimming pools. The Wattignies school group, in Paris' 12 arrondissement, has been equipped with a heat pump and 60 meters of heat exchangers.

The energy that goes into heating water for dishwashers, laundry machines, showers and sinks usually goes to waste, but now it will be recovered, and the projected stats are impressive. If all goes according to plan, the new system will meet 70% of the school's heating needs and avoid the emission of 76.3 tons of CO2 per year.

The process is safe and clean, the City explains. It requires no combustion and there's no cause for alarm odor-wise: only the heat is recovered from the sewer water, not the smell. And it's a great, creative way to save not only energy, but money.

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