In 2015, over half of Scotland's energy came from renewable sources, spearheading Europe's pursuit in switching to renewable energy. Now, a Glasgow nightclub is taking an innovative approach to sustainability by turning dancers and concert goers' heat into thermal energy. SWG3, a multi-venue complex that hosts a wide array of events—from live shows and themed parties to small receptions and art exhibitions—now boasts a dance floor that harnesses the body heat of guests for future use. The system is aptly named Bodyheat and was created by geothermal energy startup TownRock Energy.
Bodyheat will help keep the venue warm or cool, depending on the season. “From club, gig, and exhibition goers, the innovative new system is now active and ready to capture the heat emitted from all of our visitors,” explains SGW3. “The energy will then be stored across 12 underground boreholes, before being used to heat or cool our venue later—whether it be tomorrow, next month, or next year!”
The versatility of the venues lends itself to this energy harvesting model. “When you start dancing, medium pace, to the Rolling Stones or something, you might be generating 250W,” TownRock Energy founder David Townsend told BBC. “But if you’ve got a big DJ, absolutely slamming basslines and making everyone jump up and down, you could be generating 500–600W of thermal energy.”
This clean energy initiative will allow the venue to say goodbye to its gas boilers, reducing its carbon emissions by about 70 tonnes of CO2 a year. While SWG3's managing director Andrew Fleming-Brown described Bodyheat as a “leap of faith,” given that a conventional heating or cooling system would have cost about 10% of the £600,000 ($670,000) invested into it, they estimate that they will recover the funds in five-years’ time by lowering the energy bills. On top of that, it will help the complex achieve “net-zero” carbon emissions by 2025.
“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 said in an interview. The good news is that clubs in other countries, such as Germany, are showing interest in Bodyheat. Perhaps, in the long run, thermal energy systems like this will be the key to making live entertainment fully sustainable.
SWG3, a multi-venue complex in Glasgow, installed a dance floor that harnesses dancers' energy and turns it into thermal energy to power the place.
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Aptly called Bodyheat, this system will reduce the venues' carbon emissions by about 70 tonnes of CO2 a year.
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