Waste heat recovery from a crematorium: green or ghoulish?

Waste heat recovery isn’t nearly as sexy as solar panels or wind turbines… but it’s a concept already proving its worth, with a lot of room for growth. It’s also an idea that might strike most of us as pretty non-controversial; however, when the waste heat is coming from a crematorium, battle lines appear.

That’s the case in Redditch, a small town in Worcestershire, UK (pictured above). The borough council has proposed what it sees as a “green” method for heating the local swimming pool: capture waste heat from the nearby crematorium. Council leader Carole Gandy sees the idea as a no-brainer: “I think it will save the authority money and, in the long-term, save energy which is what we’re all being told we should do.” Others are a bit more squeamish about the proposal: “Simon Thomas, of Thomas Brothers Funeral Directors, said ‘I don’t know how comfortable people would feel about the swimming pool being heated due to the death of a loved one.” All parties note that creative savings have become a necessity with recent national government budget cuts.

This isn’t a new idea, however: as the BBC points out, other parts of the UK and Europe already employ this practice. But, no doubt, some are going to see it as using the dead for fuel.

So, what do you think? Is this a sensible way of making use of heat energy that will otherwise be vented into the atmosphere… or just plain creepy and disrespectful?

via Sky News


Image credit: Alan Marriott at Wikimedia Commons