This Scottish nightclub is storing revellers' body heat to harness it as energy

A Glasgow nightclub is using a new system to harness body heat from revellers.
A Glasgow nightclub is using a new system to harness body heat from revellers.   -   Copyright  Canva   -  
By Euronews and Reuters

A hot, sweaty dance floor is helping heat and cool a Glasgow music venue by harvesting the heat from the dancers and storing it in rocks underground.

The system, called BodyHeat, is installed in several areas in the venue SWG3, allowing its gas boiler to be turned off permanently, saving money and cutting energy use.

"Anyone that's been to a venue and been into a busy venue and has experienced heat generated from the audience," Andrew Fleming-Brown, SWG3's Managing Director told Reuters.

Fleming-Brown was speaking as final preparations were made for an electro-dance music event with an expected audience of around a thousand.

"What is great about BodyHeat is our audience participates in the system," he said.

"Just by coming to an event, coming to a gig or a club or anything, you're part of that low carbon solution for the venue and I think that's really struck a chord with our audience".

The thermal heating and cooling system capture the heat emitted from all of the venue’s visitors and stores it across 12 underground boreholes, before being used to heat or cool the venue later - whether it be the next day, the next month, or the next year.

Making music venues more eco-friendly

"So many nightclubs at the moment would use air conditioning units to capture that heat and take it away from the dance floor. But then it's just expelled into the air," David Walls, a geothermal geologist who helped TownRock Energy develop the system, told Reuters.

If artists are making those initial inquiries and starting to kind of put their name towards sustainability, their fans, and our audience will follow.
Andrew Fleming-Brown
Managing Director, SWG3

"When they've got something that needs heating, they just turn on the gas boiler. And that's the thing that we've intercepted here," he added.

Heat is transported in a series of pipes to heat pumps in the plant room, before going 200 m underground into the boreholes to be stored.

When the energy is ready to be used, it travels back to the heat pumps where it is upgraded to a suitable temperature for the three spaces where it is active, including Galvanizers, a 1,000-person former factory, a 1250-person capacity space, and the main foyer.

Previous attempts to make music venues and gigs more eco-friendly include dance floors that generate electricity and pedal-powered concerts, but none have offered the industry such a realistic way of lowering its emissions as BodyHeat, according to Fleming-Brown.

"I think Coldplay is a great example of artists taking the lead, and we're starting to see that a lot with artists coming to the venue where they start to inquire a little bit about the environmental credentials of venues," he said.

"If artists are making those initial inquiries and starting to kind of put their name towards sustainability, their fans, and our audience will follow," he said.

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Video editor • Aisling Ní Chúláin