Today’s Solutions: October 01, 2023

Last year, we wrote about the legendary Glasgow club SWG3’s innovative plan to generate energy using dancers’ body heat to heat and cool the club. Well, we have an exciting update for you!

According to Energy Live News, the renowned venue SWG3 officially activated the revolutionary system, dubbed the BODYHEAT system, on Wednesday, October 5.

According to Glasgow Live, SWG3 managing director Andrew Fleming-Brown said, “We’re thrilled that after three years of planning, consultation, and construction, we are able to switch on the first BODYHEAT system.” In addition to being a significant step toward achieving the clubs’ net zero targets, this action “will hopefully influence others in our industry and beyond to follow suit, working together to tackle climate change.”

According to the Glasgow Evening Times, clubgoers were invited to take part in the Slosh, a line dance, to officially launch the new system.

How does the BODYHEAT system work?

Energy Live News and BBC News state the following in regard to how the BODYHEAT system functions:

  • The dancers’ body heat is transferred by a carrier fluid to 12 boreholes that are 200 meters (about 656 feet) below the earth and powered by a thermal battery.
  • Heat pumps are then supplied with the energy.
  • The club is heated or cooled by the heat pumps, which convert energy to the desired temperature.

Can dancing actually provide enough energy for this to function? Evidently yeah.

“When you start dancing, medium pace, to the Rolling Stones or something, you might be generating 250W,” system designer and TownRock Energy founder David Townsend told BBC News. However, he adds that if you have a popular DJ who gets everyone up and moving, the system could be producing 500-600W of thermal energy.

Dr. Jon Gluyas, a professor of Earth sciences at Durham University and the chair in geo-energy, carbon capture, and storage added that it was efficient to store heat in the liquid below because heated fluid takes a while to cool and would be well insulated.

According to Gluyas, “Storing the heat and playing it back is a major way that can positively influence the energy crisis in the UK and improve energy security.”

How much energy savings are we talking about?

With the new system, the club will be able to completely turn off all of its gas boilers and reduce its annual carbon dioxide emissions by 70 tonnes.

According to the SWG3 website, this would effectively cut its 138.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year in half. By 2025, the venue plans to achieve carbon neutrality. The club has also made other efforts in this direction, such as moving to 100 percent renewable energy, attempting to do away with single-use plastic, and converting a vacant area behind the club into a communal garden.

According to Glasgow Live, Fleming-Brown estimated that the BODYHEAT system had cost about £600,000 (approximately $665,000). In contrast, the venue would have needed to spend about £60,000 (approximately $66,000) on a traditional air conditioning system. However, the technology might generate enough savings to pay for itself in around five years. According to BBC News, the Scottish government sponsored it, and grants provided the majority of the funding.

“If we can make it work here in this environment, there’s no reason why we can’t take it to other venues, not just here in Scotland and the UK, across Europe and further afield,” Fleming-Brown told BBC News.

In fact, Townsend has already had interest from the Berlin nightclub SchwuZ in purchasing a BODYHEAT system.

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